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20th September 2019 at 11:50 am
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sad News Of Wg Cdr Mike Clulow   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:291 Characters
Only just found this as it has been ages since I logged on. Really sad to read this. Mike took over 303SU Mt Kent from me in 1987 and we spent a delightful couple of days 'handing-over'. A wonderful character and my (belated) condolences go to Mike's family and close friends.
19th September 2019 at 2:04 pm
PersonDave Lowry

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sidney Wood - Veteran   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:447 Characters
I must apologise for being so late in responding to this post. Sidney attended a number FCA functions and, in particular, as one of our group at the Battle of Britain Thanksgiving Services held at Westminster Abbey. This was particularly admirable as, well into his 90s, he traveled from Northern Ireland. I had many interesting conversations with him and found him a cheerful and friendly chap. He was in my thoughts this last Service a week ago.
3rd September 2019 at 4:58 pm
PersonDave Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Lightning F6s Twilight Run - Bruntingthorpe   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:587 Characters
The Lightning Preservation Group will be holding its annual Twilight Run, Saturday 16th November 2019. Unfortunately, as for the previous two years, due to issues at the Airfield we will not be able to have a QRA Scramble Re-enactment as the run will be at the opposite end of the runway to the QRA Shed. However, it is still a spectacular event and is well attended. I suggest you look at the website for details:
www.lightnings.org.uk
If you do decide to attend, please let me know. It helps to place the FCA in its rightful place in the Lightning Story.
davele7@hotmail.com
Dave Lowry
13th August 2019 at 8:00 pm
PersonTimothy Willbond

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Help With Historical Terms   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3129 Characters
Dear Steve,

Sorry about the delay in adding to this thread only just come across it. It is interesting timing because I have just written a paper in which I address to very confusing nomenclature used during the second world war. Originally AMES was a substitute for RAF and applied to a unit that employed radar to deliver a military imperative such as long range surveillance. Long range surveillanc units were equipped with Type 1 (floodlight) radar and the units were positioned about 30 miles apart and these AMES became known collectively as Chain Home. Similarly a low level surveillance system was introduced with deployed units being equipped with Type 2 radars. The AMES delivering this military output became known as Chain Home Low. Already confusing but it is important to understand that every AMES was a formed unit with a CO etc. From here things went down hill and AMES was applied in a very confusing way even being applied to a radar such as illustrated below.

There was a considerable difference between a GCI and an MRU. The military organisation that was set up to deliver air defence had two component parts. The first was surveillance and the production of a recognised air picture the second was the tactical control of the principal weapons of defence - the fighter aircraft - of which the precision control of aircraft to intercept an enemy aircraft was the lowest level of tactical control. GCI units were developed specifically to counter the night threat and provided interception control of night fighters. This flowed over into Northern Europe where 85 group which was charged with base defence and this included the defence of the whole of the area retaken at night and it was equipped with GCI units. Although very similar in composition the tactical control units assigned to the composite groups of 2ATAF ( Nos 83 and 84 Groups) were designated as Fighter Direction Posts (FDP). For the record, 85 Group did not report to 2ATAF but directly to AEAF.. Now in terms of surveilland there were two types of unit. Very confusingly the low level serveillance system was referred to Chain Overseas Low (COL). It was a mobile system usually equipped with a Type 15 radar and it certainly was not part of a chain. Now to the MRU, this was also a surveillance unit and it was a mobile floodlight system similar to the Type 1 radar equipped AMES and it provided wide area surveillance. Both mobile low level and area surveillance units reported to a Group Control Centre. A maximum of four "COL' unitis and two MRUs were deployed in the 85 Group AOR of which 358 MRU was assigned to 24 Base Defence Sector.

The problem with many of the numerous mobile units was that they did not tend to keep good records and if they did they became lost. The ORB for 24 Base Defence Sector is quite good but does not stand up to close examination and there may be something at Kew under 85 Group GCC - worth a look.

The nomenclature of the day was incredibly confusing and was not applied consistently which makes it even worse but I hope the foregoing helps.

Kind regards

Tim
9th August 2019 at 4:29 pm
PersonGraham Crow

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:773 Characters
Dear Mike/all,
I’ve just logged on for the first time in a several weeks - recently capacity has been somewhat sapped by the final term of staff college and moving house - and note Mike’s comments below. I also contacted the Sec immediately upon reading the minutes in order to correct the misrepresentation.

Credit is instead due to association members James O’Toole, Tom Ginger, James Neate and Nick Geary who provided input or critique for the proposals. I was aware that the Chairman was trying to secure agreement from Mike to assist with the work at a later stage (ie once we had some proposals for comment), but suspect that there was a misunderstanding that prevented Mike from receiving the draft from the committee for his thoughts ahead of the AGM.
Graham
1st August 2019 at 8:17 pm
PersonGrant Philip

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:629 Characters
Dear Mike, Fellow Members

Firstly I hope that this finds you all well. Having been away on leave and offline for a few days I am only just coming up to speed on the deep concerns over the accuracy of the minutes. I have exchanged several e-mails with both Jan Cobb and Grant Grafton today on the issue and we will issue a Secretary's Note shortly correcting any inaccuracies. As you might expect, I intend to speak with Sean given the strength of feeling and language used in various posts in both message boards and via e-mails that I have received. I hope to speak with him over the next few days.

Regards
Grant
30th July 2019 at 8:14 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:681 Characters
Good evening Mike

When I first read the AGM minutes I was impressed by the neutrality of the proposals which I assumed were predicated on an assumption that a change was required in some shape or form because of the survey results. Given the strength of feeling expressed by many previously, I had expected to see a proposal to membership of "No Change". However, given your mail below, and how I had interpreted the engagement, I also support the suggestion that the minutes should be re-issued to be fair and accurate and to not be misleading.

Kind regards
Alastair - also proud to identify as having been a fighter controller in spite of being surveillance ;-)
30th July 2019 at 4:17 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:4102 Characters
Hi All,
It's been quiet on here recently hasn't it! I presume you will all have received the AGM Minutes by now. I've gone into print about them and I thought I'd post what I've said here so that those interested enough to log in have the background as to why they will, hopefully, be reissued shortly with a Secretary's Note correcting them. I addressed the original to the Committee and those (very!) few stalwarts who actually attended the AGM. Here's what I said:-


Dear All,

Today I somewhat belatedly got to look at the AGM Minutes that the Secretary recently circulated. Whilst they may well reflect what was actually presented to the meeting (I don't know because I wasn't there), I'm sorry to say that they contain a glaring inaccuracy that I cannot allow to stand unchallenged. Under the agenda heading of "Change of Mandate", the minutes state that,

"The Chairman advised the meeting that Wg Cdr Graham Crowe had teamed with Mike Good in order to produce 3 motions suggesting ways in which the Association could change to accommodate the formation of the AOB and the consequent absorption of the ABM Branch. These motions are shown below"..... et seq.

I gather that a similar misapprehension concerning my involvement may have occurred during the preceding Committee Meeting. Allow me to put the record straight once and for all. I was invited by our then Chairman, Sean, to become involved in Graham's Working Group to represent the interests of those of us favouring maintenance of the FCA status quo, with the AOB creating its own Association if it felt the need to do so. I was somewhat reluctant but Sean assured me that:-

"I would expect Graham to do most of the ‘hard staffing’ in assessing the elements and putting COAs and choices /forms of words to you to test and adjust as necessary, so it should not be too burdensome on you time wise. "

On that basis, I agreed. I then asked Sean how he would like to play it and received the following response:-

"I'm happy to reduce bureaucracy by just linking you up direct with Graham Crow so you can work direct and then just ask that you report back through Grant and Me to the Ctte when you feel you have something for us to note. I don't see the need for a regular status update."

To which I replied, "All copied, standing by....".

That was on 5th March, and I have been "standing by" ever since. So, to be clear, I have had no involvement whatsoever in the production of the proposals and I have had no contact, in any form, from Graham or any other members of the WG.

You may legitimately ask, "Well why didn't you chase it up then?". To which I would reply, "Given that I am amongst those not in favour of the direction of travel that any proposals would take us in, what would be my incentive for so doing!?".

So why did the promised involvement not materialise? Two possibilities I suppose - conspiracy or cock-up! There is certainly at least a suspicion amongst us older members who identify with pride at having been "Fighter Controllers", that the still-serving members of the new AOB (who frequently tell us that they don't) are attempting a "hostile takeover" of our Association. Ironic, since those still serving are least in need of an association. However, in light of recent experience, I am inclined to believe that the latter possibility applies.

The bottom line of all this is that those few attending the AGM, and the entire membership in receipt of the minutes, have been misled and this needs to be corrected. I therefore suggest a re-issue of the minutes containing a "Secretary's Note" reflecting the true situation. I'm not actually sure where to direct this request, so I'll give it a wide-ish distribution in the hope that the right person will pick it up and run with it.

Best regards and hope you're all well,

Mike
22nd July 2019 at 11:11 am
PersonDave Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Battle Of Britain Thanksgiving Service, Westminster   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:106 Characters
There are still some places available. Please let me know soonest if you wish to take them up.

Dave Lowry
21st July 2019 at 8:18 pm
PersonDave Lowry

Category: Where Are They Now?
Topic: Kelvin Holmes   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:244 Characters
I have been asked by a third party, whom I know, if I have contact with Kelvin. If anyone knows how to contact him could you please ask him to contact me on: davele7@hotmail.com. I could then see if he wishes to be put in contact. Dave Lowry
17th July 2019 at 12:09 pm
PersonTimothy Willbond

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Bentley Priory Bunker   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:608 Characters
The Bentley Priory Museum are considering a project that features the bunker at BP. The bunker was opened in March 1940 and provided the operations centre for Fighter Command until 1968 and then 11 Group in one guise or another. The project is looking to interview people who worked in the bunker over the whole period of its existence.

If you worked in the bunker either full time or as a war role or know of someone who did I would very much appreciate hearing from you so we can, through this BP initiative, capture memories and stories of the bunker and the roles it performed in the defence of the UK
15th July 2019 at 7:48 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Ian 'Lofty' Wetherell - Still Alive And Kicking!!   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1526 Characters
There are those among us who know Lofty well, who might have though that he had left this mortal coil had I just put his name in the subject box; hence 'alive and kicking'! Nevertheless, Lofty is 86 and has - over the last couple of years - started to suffer with dementia. Many will know that Judith, his wife, has long been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease - some 25 years now - and, coupled with Lofty's dementia, can no longer manage her own illness as well as his. As a result, they are - relatively happily - ensconced in a care home, not too far away from their East Yorkshire home in Skidby. Their son, Keith, to whom I spoke today (having had Lofty's email address bounce on communications once too often!), is the primary point of contact now and, when he answered a later email, wrote:

"They receive excellent care and dad especially is very settled. Judith less so, but I'm told that is a part of her Parkinson's. To have survived so well for 25 years post diagnosis is a tribute to her fortitude and fighting spirit, which continues to this day. I'm sure that members could talk to "Lofty" if they call the home. However he may seem very confused. Like most sufferers he is better with the more distant past, so old colleagues may find him more lucid than maybe we do."

If any member wishes to have either Keith's details or Lofty's details, please get in touch with me, either by email or by using the facilities on this website.

Jan
11th July 2019 at 10:47 am
PersonDave Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Battle Of Britain Thanksgiving Service, Westminster   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1609 Characters
Battle of Britain Thanksgiving Service - Sunday 15 September 2019

This year the Battle of Britain Thanksgiving Service will be held on Sunday 15th September. As usual, the Association has been allocated spaces. If you wish to attend, could you please send the following information to me at museums.member@raffca.org.uk, copied to sec@raffca.org.uk.

Your full name (and that of an accompanying partner)
Any Titles or Ranks, (for yourself and partner as appropriate)
Your Full Address (and that of an accompanying partner if different from yours)

Please ensure that you include any other requirements, such as the use of a wheelchair or the need for assistance, as the Service will entail some walking and standing for a period of time.

The spaces, which are limited in number, will be allocated on a first-come basis. If free spaces are available, extra guests might be accepted (in which case, we will need the same information about them as requested above). If you contemplate extra guests, please let me know so I can have it on record.

The Association still has a few remaining Veteran Members who served in WWII; we know you will understand if we give them priority, but they will be approached separately. However, if you are
a Veteran Member, feel free to respond to this notice, indicating your status as a veteran and in addition to sec@raffca.org.uk, please copy to heritage@raffca.org.uk

Please respond at the earliest opportunity (to ensure your place in the queue), but no later than 24th July 2019

I look forward to meeting our attendees at the Abbey.

Best wishes

Dave Lowry
5th July 2019 at 5:23 pm
PersonDave Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: RAF On Omaha   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:583 Characters
Hi Steve

I am researching the operational contribution of the T14 to the D-Day landings and the rest of WW2 on behalf of the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum. We have an example that is in need of very expensive renovation or it will be lost. We are trying to build a story of its importance, hopefully, to attract sponsorship and/or grants. If you have any memories etc from your father's experiences I would be very pleased to hear them.

I am a Trustee on the Board at the ADRM and the Museums Member on the FCA Committee.

My e-mail is:

davele7@hotmail.com

Cheers

Dave
3rd July 2019 at 7:11 pm
PersonTimothy Willbond

Category: General Discussions
Topic: RAF On Omaha   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1302 Characters
Dear Steve,

The association organised, with much help from the Embassy in Paris, a ceremony at Vierville sur Mer to commemorate the airmen that died on Omaha beach and the achievements of the unit itself. It is a remarkable story and one that was only brought to our attention a few years ago by Dr Les Dobinson who landed on D+3 as part of the support echelon for the GCI and LWUs that were deploying. Les single handedly mounted a campaign to ensure that those that lost their lives were not forgotten and the story of 15082 GCI became an established part of the history of D Day. The memorial that now stands was produced through the efforts of Les and the then Mayor of Vierville. It is the only RAF memorial in the assault area.

There were two ceremonies at Vierville a joint one with the Town, the US 29th Division and the RAF and a private RAF ceremony. It was very moving and we made sure that Les was recognised for all he had done.

An interesting aside is that we met a marine archeologist who has mapped much of the waters off the beaches and is now trying to identify any of the remains of 15082. The biggest single loss was the Type 13 radar which was completely submerged as it tried to land and was never seen again.

Glad you got to see the memorial.

Kind regards

Tim
1st July 2019 at 5:41 pm
PersonDave Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Type 14 Radar - Operations   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1009 Characters
I am looking for information and references to the war time operations of the T14 Radars. We have an example at the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum (ADRM), Neatishead, that is desperately in need of renovation before it becomes a loss. Unfortunately, it has been kept in the open for many years with the inevitable results. We are working on plans to restore it and keep it under cover. I believe the type played an important role in our history.

Unfortunately, estimates of the cost of renovation are above our current capability although we do have enthusiastic volunteers who will put in much of the hard graft.

www.radarmuseum.co.uk

We would like to attract sponsorship but before we can do this we must research the Type’s contribution and relevance to air defence and, in particular, WW2. If anyone has any information or can point me to reference material I would be very grateful. My relevant roles are Trustee of the ADRM and the Museums Member of the RAF Fighter Control Association.

Dave Lowry
14th May 2019 at 4:29 pm
PersonSteve Hudson

Category: General Discussions
Topic: RAF On Omaha   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:565 Characters
Hi,

have just returned from a backpacking trip from Dieppe to Cherbourg, taking in Bruneval, and the invasion beaches. At the western end of Omaha, I came across a memorial plaque to 15082 GCI, which landed on the beach to provide radar coverage to the American sector.

I have a family connection with WWII radar, as my father served throughout the war, and was a member of a MRU that went ashore after D-Day, and then went right through France, Belgium, The Netherlands and into Germany.

I have a photo of the plaque should anyone be interested.

regards

Steve
11th April 2019 at 6:48 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Where Are They Now?
Topic: John Leckey   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:139 Characters
Has anyone been in touch with John Leckey recently? If you have contact details for him, please pass them to me.

Kind regards

Grant
Sec
23rd February 2019 at 4:35 pm
PersonMartyn Bettel

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sad News Of Wg Cdr Mike Clulow   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:316 Characters
Very sad news indeed; Mike replaced me as the RAF Fighter Control exchange officer at HQ NORAD/Space Command in Colorado Springs in Mar 83 and we latterly served together at Boulmer in 87/88. In his later life I know he was also a very active member of the RAFA. Jaqui and I send our deepest sympathy to his family.
13th February 2019 at 3:40 pm
PersonJoseph Marsden

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Dorothy Rayner - WWII Radar Operator   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:449 Characters
I attended this today with Frank Graham, there was a standard bearer from the RAFA and about 30 RAF uniformed personnel including current Fighter Controllers and personnel from Whale Island, RAF Benson and Swanwick. The hearse was given a guard of honour as it arrived and we all squeezed into the small chapel at Porchester. She appears to have been a remarkable woman who was well supported by friends and family who seemed pleased at the turnout.
12th February 2019 at 3:38 pm
PersonJoseph Marsden

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Dorothy Rayner - WWII Radar Operator   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:20 Characters
I intend to be there
7th February 2019 at 11:35 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Dorothy Rayner - WWII Radar Operator   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:297 Characters
We have just been advised that Dorothy died recently. Dorothy as a WWII Radar Operator. Her funeral service is to be held at Porchester (Portsmouth) Crematorium on Wed 13th Feb 2019 at 12.45 p.m. Dorothy's family would welcome retired or serving members of the RAF to the service

Grant
Sec
29th January 2019 at 10:04 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sad News Of Wg Cdr Mike Clulow   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:406 Characters
All,

Hilary Whiteway has been contacted by Mike's daughter to let her know that Mike died in Dec '18 after a long battle with kidney disease. I have no other details at this time.

I knew Mike very well. He and I worked together at the School of FC, West Drayton, preparing material for the first Executive Training courses. This was late 1981, early 1982.

He will be sadly missed

Grant
Sec
18th January 2019 at 5:15 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sidney Wood - Veteran   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:491 Characters
We have received this message from Bob Holdredge, Sidney's son-in-law

'I am saddened to say that Mr Sidney James Wood passed away on 4th January 2019. His casket was draped with the RAF flag and his hat and medals were on display. 30 family and friends were in attendance at his funeral. He was 97 years young and was talkative and lucid up until the moment of his passing. He cherished his time in the RAFFCA.'

A reply has been sent on behalf of the Association.

Grant
Sec
14th January 2019 at 8:04 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sidney Wood - Veteran   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:777 Characters
I have just been contacted by Jacqueline Cunningham with the following news:

"It is with regret that I am contacting you with the news of the death of Sidney James Wood on 4/1/19. Sidney had experienced a short illness .. Pancreatic Cancer. He had been in hospital for 5 weeks from September until early October. He was at home until Christmas day when he was very ill again. He was admitted into hospital again ...only then to die peacefully on 4th Jan with friends and family with him.

The funeral is on Wed. 16th Jan at Roselawn Crematorium, Belfast at 12 noon and afterwards at La Mon Hotel Belfast for refreshments. Sidney was an amazing man and will be very much missed by all of us."

I have replied offering condolences from the Association.

Grant
Sec
25th December 2018 at 11:00 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sad News Of Joan Fanshawe   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:820 Characters
Dear Association member,

I have received the following message from Tim Willbond.

'It is with considerable sadness that I have to report that Joan Fanshawe died last Wednesday at the age of 98 in New Zealand.

Every year Joan would travel to New Zealand for three months over Christmas to be with her two daughters and their families. She travelled of on the 8th December arriving safely and enjoyed several days of good health before falling ill. There will be a funeral in Auckland on Thursday and the plan is to hold a memorial service in the UK in March.

Joan was a remarkable lady in the true sense of the word and very much a poster girl for the FCA for a number of years - she was the last known witness to events in the 11 Group operations room on the 15th December 1940.'

Kind regards

Grant
Sec
9th December 2018 at 5:52 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: Fighter Control/ABM Stories   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1016 Characters
Dave Lowry has asked that I post the following:

The author, Richard Pike, is in the process of producing his latest book and looking for some additional interesting material. They are in the form of anthologies. He has produced the Lightning Boys and Phantom Boys books and, the latest, Helicopter Boys. Our specialisation has been included in earlier books, Penny Smith (nee Wild) in Phantom Boys 2 and, modesty forbids, a little on my experiences in Helicopter Boys.

This coming book is of a more general nature so Control stories would certainly be appropriate. We don't have to worry about our 'authorship' skills, Richard sorts all that out. It's the interest aspect that's important.

If you have a tale to tell, I suggest you get in touch with either me (if you would like to have a chat, I could give you my landline number), or directly with Richard which would speed things up.

Richard's e-mail is: pike1@greenbee.net. My e-mail is: davele7@hotmail.com

Regards
Grant
Sec
2nd December 2018 at 6:03 pm
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:406 Characters
I've only just picked this up and it's a great shock. I was on Gordon's Squadron at Buchan as a Flight Commander and saw him as a great support and enjoyed working with him learning much. Later I relieved him in Oslo as the TACEVAL Project Officer with the RNoAF. I was last in touch and met him attending a BofB Service at Westminster Abbey a few years ago.

Cancer is a thief. What a loss.
2nd December 2018 at 5:43 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Philip Robert James Lamb MA BTh RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1735 Characters
Thank you to Jan Cobb, our web manager, for posting this tribute to Phil Lamb on the FCA Facebook page.

For those who do not use Facebook, the information is given below:

Phil got a mention in the House of Commons on 26 Nov '18 at 8.02pm by Mrs Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)(Lab) short extract below:

I cannot finish without speaking about the people of the RAF. The hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr Baker) and I share a great friend. When I became the chair of the RAF all-party parliamentary group, a liaison officer was appointed by the Ministry of Defence to ensure that I understood things and perhaps that I behaved myself—he did not do very well at that—as well as to ensure that I was accurate in the things that I said and did. That man was Wing Commander Philip Lamb. After being a parliamentary liaison officer, he went on to be the station commander at St Mawgan and then to become our defence attaché in Sweden. It was there that he became ill. On the day—in fact, at the very minute—that I was told I was to be the next President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, a text appeared on my phone. I opened it, and it told me that Philip had died. Philip was a man who, like so many in the RAF, served his country with distinction, commitment and integrity. Like so many others, he was a man who let the world know that the RAF still attracted the best people. They are people who really do go through adversity to the stars in protecting this country.

Full extract available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-11-26/debates/619F7290-1B55-4C47-A8EA-FEF11503B1A4/RAFCentenary?highlight=wing%20commander%20philip%20lamb#contribution-BCAEEED1-3744-4738-8BEA-BAADA78BD499
A very fitting tribute.

Grant
Sec
29th November 2018 at 1:23 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: A Non-PC Christmas Present   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:461 Characters
All,

I have to blame Mike Good for bringing these mugs to my attention - but I don't suppose he will mind.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Novelty-Mug-RAF-Bombing-and-shooting-the-sh-t-out-the-bad-guys-for-100-years/232973167322?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

As you can see they are available on one of those well known auction sites. I bought a couple and they bring a smile to most of my visitors.

Kind regards

Grant
Sec
19th November 2018 at 11:22 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Philip Robert James Lamb MA BTh RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:663 Characters
Information passed to my by Jules Tilley.

The funeral of Wg Cdr Philip Lamb MA BTh RAF will take place on 30 Nov 18 at 1300 hrs starting with a service at St John’s Church, Church Road, Egglescliffe, Stockton on Tees, TS16 9DQ, followed by a committal at Yarm Cemetery.

Lastly a few refreshments in a local hostelry.

Dress - RAF No1 Service Dress with medals or Service equivalent or civilian attire.

Family flowers only. Donations gratefully received to:
RAF Benevolent Fund or Bright Red Blood Cancer Charity.

If you wish to attend please contact the following by 26 Nov 18.
jules.tilley649@mod.gov.uk and cc to info@andydavison.com

Regards
Grant
Sec
19th November 2018 at 11:21 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Kieran O'Sullivan RAF (Retd)   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:94 Characters
Further to the announcement below. All are now welcome at the crematorium.

Regards
Grant
Sec
18th November 2018 at 5:25 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Kieran O'Sullivan RAF (Retd)   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1102 Characters
Additional information on the arrangements for Kieran's funeral are posted below:
Kieran’s funeral will be held at
St Mary the Virgin Church
Stamfordham Village
Stamfordham
Northumberland
NE18 0QQ
on Monday 26th November at 1pm.
This will be followed by cremation, which unfortunately must be limited to family and invited friends due to space constraints, however all are invited to further celebrate Kieran’s life at 4pm in the Officers’ Mess, Albemarle Barracks, Ouston, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE15 0RF.
Could those planning on coming to the Mess please email Dave Payne
davidpayne253@gmail.com
with your name and car registration details, prior to 1pm on Monday 19th November.
Dress code: No1 Service Dress (or equivalent) for Service personnel, for others please don’t wear somber clothes- Kieran was never somber!
Family flowers only. Any donations to Brain Tumour Research gratefully received. www.braintumourresearch.org
NB Fret not if you need to while away some time between the church and the mess - there are plenty of pubs in the vicinity to do so in ????

Regards
Grant
Sec
18th November 2018 at 5:20 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Kieran O'Sullivan RAF (Retd)   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:225 Characters
We have heard the sad news that Kieran passed away on Thu 15th Nov. His funeral has been arranged for Mon 26th Nov - in Northumberland. I understand Ginge Crayford and Tim Willbond are planning to attend.

Regards
Grant
Sec
18th November 2018 at 5:17 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Philip Robert James Lamb MA BTh RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:188 Characters
The latest information we have is that Phil passed away on Wed 14th Nov. His funeral is being arranged for Friday 30th Nov. At this stage there are no further details.

Regards
Grant
Sec
17th November 2018 at 3:36 pm
PersonMartin Littlehales

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Philip Robert James Lamb MA BTh RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:136 Characters
Taken far too young. Phil was the consummate ‘Officer and Gentleman’. I had the privilege of working with him more than once. Martin
9th November 2018 at 6:56 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Philip Robert James Lamb MA BTh RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:925 Characters
Dear Association member,

I have just received the following from Jules Tilley:

'Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Some of you may have heard rumours that Philip has not been well over the Summer. I can now confirm that Philip is terminally ill and his departure is expected imminently. He has not shared this more widely earlier because the family genuinely hoped that he might make a recovery. However, it is now clear that his illness is terminal. There will be a funeral invitation in due course which will be at the local church, after the service we will repair to the local pub.

Given the circumstances would you please not make direct contact with Philip or Lorna. Instead, please pass any messages to Squadron Leader Jules Tilley who has the honour of being appointed the Visiting Officer for his family. I will ensure that your words are passed on. (jules.tilley649@mod.gov.uk).'

Regards
Grant
Secretary
6th November 2018 at 9:00 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Where Are They Now?
Topic: Seeking News Of Charlie Flint And Mark & Jane Cox   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:453 Characters
Dear Member,

I was recently at a function at the former GCI Station, RAF Ripperston. During the visit I was approached by Adrian (Ivor) Tyrrell asking if I knew how to contact Charlie Flint and Mark & Jane Cox.

Adrian was an engineer officer and had served at RAF Benbecula and RAF Neatishead. At the latter station he was OC Eng Wg.

If anyone has information on Charlie or the Cox's, please drop me a line.

Kind regards

Grant

Secretary
31st October 2018 at 8:37 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Jeff Bowman   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:546 Characters
Dear Members,

A Facebook message came in last night (30th Oct) from a Timothy Page:

“Good evening, for the information of your older members, a former Fighter Controller, Jeff Bowman, passed away at his home in Brittany, France, on Sunday evening. The funeral was this afternoon. I’m afraid I don’t have details of his former service, but I’m sure your membership will fill in the blanks. I would guess late 60s and 70s. Kind regards.”

I didn't serve with Jeff and don't have personal knowledge of him.

Kind regards

Grant
22nd October 2018 at 9:22 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Sqn Ldr Brian Symondson   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:377 Characters
I have just been informed by Gillian Symondson that Brian passed away in Aug '18. Although a late starter with the Association, relatively speaking, Brian was a 'senior' member of the FC branch, having qualified as a controller at Middle Wallop, in 1955. Gillian has been sent our condolences and offered Associate membership of the Association.

Regards
Grant
21st October 2018 at 12:31 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: The 'Save Goodwin Sands' Campaign   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1984 Characters
Dear Association member.

I have received this note from Fiona Punter, of the Save our ‘Goodwin Sands’ campaign.

‘As you know, our group have been campaigning for over 2 years to stop Dover Harbour Board dredging the Goodwins for sand to use as land-fill aggregate for a dock redevelopment. Despite our best efforts the Marine Management Organisation granted the dredging licence at the end of July and we are now fund-raising for a Judicial Review.

To re-cap, the iconic Sands are the graveyard of innumerable mariners and over 2 thousand ships but they are also the final resting place of over 60 planes and 80 aircrew from the Battle of Britain alone. They also contain the remains of other military aircraft: in August this year one of our diving contacts found this bomber which has remained undiscovered since the War.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWwUOIYcuog

Despite being surveyed twice by Dover Harbour Board's archaeological contractor, it was not identified as an aircraft crash-site but merely as a 'seafloor disturbance'.

I know that your Association members will share our disgust that the final resting places of brave aircrew who gave their lives in service to their country could be threatened by a dredge-head. Many senior Military personnel we have spoken with believe that the Crown War Graves Commission has responsibility for these sites, but unfortunately this is not the case.

We are now reaching out to as many Air Force organisations and associations as possible to help us with our CrowdJustice campaign.

We appreciate that members of your organisation may not be in a position to support us financially, even so please would you publish this narrative and the link to our fund-raising page to as many of your contacts, friends and associates as possible?

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/help-us-save-the-goodwin-sands/’

Please do all you can to circulate this information to as wide a circle as possible.

Grant
20th October 2018 at 9:17 am
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:611 Characters
Personally I do not see the harm of non-members being part of the working group that subsequently make recommendations. This is no different to businesses forming customer focus groups using sales, IT and customers or employing Big 4 Audit companies to provide a view to be considered based on their wider experiences with other industries. The different insights and experiences that result can open up new avenues not previously considered. However, it is then up to the members to decide the course of action to take. What is there to fear if we, as members, retain the ultimate control through our vote?
20th October 2018 at 9:04 am
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:288 Characters
I agree, Richard, but allowing a working group (of FCA members) to seek opinions from others (not FCA members) is not the same as having those non-members actually on the working group that will make recommendations. Any TORs for the working group should make that distinction very clear!
20th October 2018 at 8:59 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:213 Characters
Surely, the only people who can vote for a change of constitution are the members? However, I do think that it is relevant to hear the views of those who may be future members depending upon eligibility decisions.
18th October 2018 at 7:06 am
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:478 Characters
Given that I understood the purpose of the working Group was to seek views, and apologies if I am mistaken, but is there any harm in inviting non-members to share their views for the committee to consider on the basis, and I agree with others here, those non-members do not have a vote on whatever the Chairman presents at a later date? If the non-members are not interested then surely that is as informative to the decision as those that might be interested. Just a thought.
17th October 2018 at 8:55 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1076 Characters
Mike/Grant, et al

From the correspondence I have seen (there might be more that wasn't copied to me), Grant has been pretty thorough in determining the current status of each applicant for membership, ensuring that each one fits into the parameters governed by the Constitution and Rules. I'm sure that has given him a bit of a headache in the circumstances, but it is necessary as long as the membership criteria remain as they are. For that reason, I would agree that any new full member (since 1 April 2018) has as much right as any other full member to contribute to the determination of the Association's future; this accords with the statement I made earlier today that assumed, actually, that no-one who didn't meet current membership criteria should be given membership for now.

If I read your post correctly, Grant, Sean feels that non-members from the wider (ATM/FO) AOB should be given the opportunity to have a say in the Association's future, even though none of them may yet become members; with that I disagree, as I stated earlier.
17th October 2018 at 8:07 pm
PersonMike Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:267 Characters
Grant

Thank you for yours. However, you will not be surprised to know that I disagree with you fundamentally. In my view, only those officers who were members of the Association prior to 1 Apr 18 may have any say in how the Association develops in the future.

Mike
17th October 2018 at 4:47 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:558 Characters
Mike/Jan/Et Al,

I'm remiss in not passing on a comment from our Chairman. He wanted me to let everyone know that the 70/30 split of those contributing to the final outcome was by no means arbitrary, nor was anyone present at the AGM (including yours truly who wrote the minutes) of the impression the possible mix formed part of any vote. In reality, the vast majority of the input will come from the former FC/ABM stream, now merged into the AOB. However, Sean does feel those who may join us ought to have a say. I agree.

Kind regards

Grant
Sec
17th October 2018 at 1:52 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1114 Characters
It doesn't seem as though anyone else wants to respond to your post, Mike, so here's my two pennyworth! While I attended the AGM, I didn't get the impression that the WG membership would be anything but advisory as far as previous ATM/Flt Ops officers were concerned. The minutes' wording suggests otherwise, of course, as it makes clear that only 70% would come from the Association, while 30% would be others (which can only mean non-Members, whatever their Branch or Serving status). As yet, though (and I am a member of the Committee, so would have hoped to be included in any correspondence on the issue), I have seen nothing from the Chairman elaborating on the task ahead, so can only assume that other priorities have pushed things to the back of the queue.

Notwithstanding that, I agree with you that the composition of the WGs must come purely from Association membership, with the condition - obviously - that any WG member who has joined the Association since 1 April 2018 must comply with the current Constitution and be employed and/or qualified in the ABM stream as we knew it.
26th September 2018 at 4:15 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wg Cdr Mike Moore   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:161 Characters
I have just been informed by Mike Moore's step-daughter, Cherry, that Mike passed away on 8th Sep. No other information at present.
Kind regards
Grant
Sec
11th September 2018 at 11:36 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Lord Mayors Parade - 10 Nov   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:663 Characters
Dear Member,
In recognition of RAF100, the Association has been offered 6 places for members to join in the Lord Mayors Show/Parade.
Although details are a little sketchy, we understand this will require those interested to walk in the parade following the usual route in London. I am informed the parade will be in 2 parts, separated by a lunch.
Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. However, as always, we will hold a reserve list.
If you would like to represent the Association at this event, please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The cut-off date for applications will be end of play on Sun 30 Sep.
Kind regards
Grant
Sec
6th September 2018 at 4:08 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander John Meader   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:203 Characters
Sad News. I worked a bit with John in Germany in the good old Cold War days - he struck me as very knowledgeable and experienced and good at dealing with complex situations under pressure. Richard Jenner
6th September 2018 at 9:44 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander John Meader   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:590 Characters
All,

Rex Barriball has just given us the sad news that John Meader passed away on Thu 30th Aug. We know his funeral is being planned for Wed 26th Sep, but have no other details at present. They will be added on receipt.

My own memories of John are relatively brief. I served under him at Buchan, when he was Wg Cdr Ops in the period '79 to ' 80. Buchan was a busy station at the time, with almost daily 'visits' from our Russian friends. I always found John to be a good leader, very firm but extremely fair. One of life's gentlemen.

Kind regards
Grant
Sec
3rd September 2018 at 9:06 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: General Announcements
Topic: Message Board Changes   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:522 Characters
There have been several occasions when multiple replies have been posted to the Message Board due to the length of time it takes the software to process matters, while leaving the 'Post Reply' button active and ready to be clicked a second time (...and more!). I have started to change the way such submissions are made and users should now find that the button fades slightly to indicate that it is disabled. If anyone notices any anomaly with this procedure, please contact me at webmanager@raffca.org.uk.

Jan
30th August 2018 at 2:20 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Help With Historical Terms   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1004 Characters
Hi Steve,

As I understand 'terms', 'GCI' (ground controlled interception) is generally used generically (and not always grammatically) - eg 'assisted by GCI' etc. 'AMES' started of as Air Ministry Experimental Station and then was used as a pre-fix for different types (marks) of equipment - eg the 'AMES Type 14'. 'MRU' would be a mobile radar unit (with a number) and refers to a unit rather that an equipment type or function. Confusingly, the RAF also used 'SU' (signals units) with a number to refer to radar units, some of which could well have been mobile! Hope this helps a bit.

I would expect a formed unit to have kept an Operational Record Books generally in the form of the RAF F540 (monthly diary). Sadly, the compilation of F540s was generally delegated to the lowest rank able (just) to write (I was one of them) and often lacking in good detail. Try searching F540 to see what comes up.

Best of luck!

Richard
22nd August 2018 at 4:42 pm
PersonSteve Hudson

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Help With Historical Terms   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:643 Characters
Dear members

I am hoping that you may be able to assist with some research I am undertaking into the career of my father WO Jim Hudson.

He was involved in AD radar from before the war to his retirement after 38 years service, serving at Bawdsey, Patrington, Western Hill, Yatesbury, and many other notable radar stations.

I am researching his involvement with 85 Group as part of 2 ATAF. His service record shows him posted to 358 MRU. I was wondering what the difference is between an MRU as opposed to a GCI unit or an AMES.

My other question was did individual units have ORBs, I couldn't locate any reference at Kew
Regards

Steve
15th August 2018 at 7:52 pm
PersonMike Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:960 Characters
It was mentioned to me recently that the Working Group (WG) that was proposed by the Chairman at the AGM to consider options for the future of the Association would comprise not just of members of the Association, but would be supplemented by members of the previous ATM and FO specialisations. I had not realised this fact, having only given the Minutes of the AGM a cursory glance (as one does) and wondered how many other Members would be similarly in the dark.

The Chairman proposed that the WG would consist of 70% Association members and 30% others; the wording of the AGM minutes suggests this was authorised by those present on the day. Notwithstanding that, I do not believe that non-members of the Association should have any input into the deliberations at all. It is, after all, our Association and it is we, the Members, and only we, who should decide where it is to go in the future.

I believe that this decision should be reconsidered

Mike
26th July 2018 at 1:58 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: Photographs Of Marconi S600 Needed   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:547 Characters
All,

The Marconi S600, that saw service on Mount Kent in the Falklands, is now in the custody of the Air Defence Radar Museum at Neatishead. Two of the volunteers at the ADRM are beginning the process of refurbishing the Control Cabin and are seeking photographs, taken at any time from '82 onward, to allow them to correctly identify and install the 'pile of bits' donated to them by Marconi. If you have such material, please send it to Dave Lowry, our Museums Member. His email: davele7@hotmail.com.

Kind regards

Grant

Sec
18th July 2018 at 9:19 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: News Of The Engineers' Walk   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:514 Characters
All,

Registration for the Engs Walk (28/29 Sep 2018) is now online. It is at: https://engwalk.uk/?password-protected=login&redirect_to=https%3A%2F%2Fengwalk.uk%2F
with a password of 40years. There are payment and accommodation options. The ProjO is Flt Lt Mark Bradley. Should you need to do so, you can contact him on: 01665 607827 and by email: mark.bradley413@mod.gov.uk

Early registration is recommended to avoid disappointment in this 40th year of the very popular event.

Kind regards

Grant
Sec
18th July 2018 at 6:41 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: 'Spitfire' - Newly Released Film   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:434 Characters
All,

I was able to get a ticket to attend a regional premiere of the film 'Spitfire'. It's a beautifully produced documentary on the full history of the Spitfire. One of our own BofB veterans, Joan Fanshawe, figures prominently and, given the focus is on the aircraft, there is some good archive footage of Joan and her colleagues playing 'Mad Ludo'. I highly recommend a viewing.

Kind regards

Grant
Sec
16th July 2018 at 8:57 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: Battle Of Britain Celebration Service, Westminster   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1028 Characters
Dear Association Member,

This year the Battle of Britain National Celebration, to be held at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 16th Sep 2018, will be of special importance because it will be one of the last formal events held as part of the celebrations for the RAF’s first 100 years.

As in previous years, the Association has to bid for tickets for the service. The demand this year is expected to be high and, as heritage stakeholders in the battle, we want to secure places and, therefore, need to get our bid in early. For those tickets allocated, priority will be given to our Veterans and their supporters. In accordance with previous practice, it may be necessary to run a ballot for any tickets available for Association members.

We apologise for the short response time but would much appreciate it if you would e-mail. Dave Lowry: davele7@hotmail.com copied to the Secretary: sec@raffca.org.uk if you would like to secure places for yourself and one guest by 27th July at the latest.

Kind regards

Grant
Secretary
2nd July 2018 at 11:09 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: General Discussions
Topic: "Snake" Clarke   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:104 Characters
Memories, eh?! I remember Snake; what a character!

...and Bud Horan is an Associate member of the FCA!
2nd July 2018 at 9:58 pm
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: General Discussions
Topic: "Snake" Clarke   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1999 Characters
Anyone who was around Neatishead circa 1980/81 will probably remember the USAF controllers from the 527TFTAS who populated the 'Aggressor Cabin' and, together with a number of RAF fighter controllers conducted control for Dissimilar Aircraft Combat Training (DACT) out in D301 (aka 'the Aggressor Area) with the F5s from Alconbury.
One of the leading 'characters' of that period, one Capt 'Snake' Clarke - is a larger than life character who 'organised' all the aggressor memorabilia, shields, beermats, crersts you name it - and was a darned fine controller too. He famously astounded and entertained the entire Ops Room during one notable September Exercise when we decided to let him loose on an exercise console. (crisp RAF R/T " Neatishead this is NFR 11and 12"...."Hi Guys - this is Snake".... ("!")......."Neatishead 11 has a contact 060/25").............."Well dont just tell me about it - go shoot his @rse!" etc etc. Those who knew Snake at the time will be delighted to know that he is still going strong and is currently a very senior member of the USAF civilian staff in the pentagon. He is for want of a better description " Mr Predator" these days.
I had the great pleasure to spend this Sunday with Snake at Duxford on one of his rare visits to the UK . He has managed to 'donate' a Predator to the RAF Museum (don't ask) as part of the 100th Birthday celebrations. He asked to be remembered to all his British mates from the fighter control branch - I'm sure there are plenty.
(As an aside - he told me he recently made a family visit to St Augustine Florida and rode on a tour bus....only to discover that the Bus Driver/Guide was Bud Horan (Ex USAF Exchange Officer RAF Neatishead from that era) - small world.
I have Snake's contact details and will, of course, be happy to pass them on to anyone who wants to get in touch with him.
Alec Trevett
29th June 2018 at 9:48 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: General Announcements
Topic: RAF Neatishead Reunion - 23 September 2018 (Updated)   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1110 Characters
Update!

The Museums Member has received an email (23 June 2018) from Tony McKie:

"Sunday 23rd September

As part of the RAF100 activities, the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum and RRH Neatishead site are hosting a reunion for all the former staff who worked here. The day-long event will have food and drink, including beer tent, tours, talks and kids activities and will be a great chance to meet former colleagues and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

To take part in the day, booking will be essential and numbers have had to be capped at 500 because of the alcohol licence. The cost for the day is just £10 per person and includes a free Hog Roast! Save the date! Booking information to follow.

Parking on the day will be on the former base; the event begins at 10.00am and finishes at 4.30pm with a flag-lowering ceremony. There is plenty of accommodation nearby including camping and caravanning."

Apparently, there has already been significant interest expressed from TG12 personnel, but the ADRM is working on an online booking facility that should be available soon. Watch this space...
26th June 2018 at 7:23 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: 2018 AGM Audio File Available   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1786 Characters
Dear Member,

The whole proceedings of the AGM were recorded. This file has now been edited to cover the Agenda item 'Change of Mandate' and AOB only. The Change of Mandate item was introduced by Sean O'Connor, giving a summary of the recent survey results. Steve Blockley then followed Sean and delivered a brief on the amalgamation of ABM, ATM and Flt Ops into the Air Operations Branch and the opportunities he felt this presented to serving, former ABM branch members. He and Sean also answered questions posed by those members present at the AGM.

The file, lasting approximately an hour, is held in a DropBox folder and will be made available to individual members who request it. If you wish to gain access to the file please send an email to: secretary@raffca.org.uk and I will send you a link to the folder. You do not need to sign up to DropBox to be able to download the file. The audio file has a companion 'script' in which I have attempted to identify those speaking and their topic. In the case of those contributing from the floor some dialogue isn't very distinct. I recommend wearing headphones to listen to the file. It is my personal recommendation you consider requesting and listening to the recording. I know it will be of great help to you in making any decision on the future of the Association.

To save me having too much administration I will wait until I can gauge the response and then send out the link to the DropBox to a 'batch' of members. Accordingly, please do not be concerned if there is a delay between making your request and receiving the link to the DropBox.

Finally, the minutes of the AGM and a revised Business Plan will be circulated before the end of this week.

Kind regards

Grant

Sec
26th June 2018 at 7:00 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: Air League Debate - 3 Jul 2018   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1891 Characters
Dear Member,

I have just received the following from Phil Buttery.

Dear Grant,

I have recently been appointed as Director General of the Air League. We are hosting a debate on 3rd July 2018 regarding Leading Future Aerospace in the UK in the Strangers' Dining Room at the House of Commons as a prelude to Farnborough International Airshow 2018. See attached example invite for details.

At the event, a panel of experts will discuss plans for the airshow and debate a range of issues necessary to ensure the UK remains a global leader in aviation and aerospace. John Steel QC, Chairman of the Air League will be joined by the Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis, Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, Paul Everitt, CEO of ADS, a Senior Representative of the Aerospace Technology Institute, in addition to senior executives from Lockheed Martin UK and Airbus. The expert panelists will discuss plans for Farnborough, key programmes, industry and governmental collaboration, inwards investment, innovation and key imperatives for UK competitiveness.

Sponsored by Airbus and Lockheed Martin the debate aims to ensure the UK remains a global leader in aviation and aerospace. I know it's short notice but if anyone from the FCA would like to join the debate, and could confirm their desire to attend to The Air League by phone 0207 766 3488 or email exec@airleague.co.uk quoting Fighter Control Association by 29th June 2018, they would be assured of a warm reception. We will issue personalised invitations to FCA members who apply and these will need to be brought to the Palace of Westminster along with a photo proof of ID.

Should you have any further questions regarding the event, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Regards
Phil
Philip Buttery
Director General

The Air League
3 Whitehall Court
London SW1A 2EL
p: 0207 766 3488
e: dg@airleague.co.uk
20th June 2018 at 7:34 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Employment Opportunities
Topic: SO2 Post At High Wycombe   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:522 Characters
Subject to formal establishment, a vacancy will arise for a Squadron Leader (Air Ops) to serve as SO2 Battlespace Management Training at Headquarters Air Command, RAF High Wycombe on Full Time Reserve Service (Limited Commitment) Terms and Conditions of Service, with an initial proposed start date being 8 October 2018 or earlier. Full details are via this link:

https://www.raf.mod.uk/ftrs-ptvr-adc-verr/vacancies/so2-battlespace-management-training-headquarters-air-command-raf-high-wycombe/

Regards

Grant
Secretary
19th June 2018 at 8:31 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: General Discussions
Topic: AGM 2018   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:599 Characters
Many thanks to all those involved in setting-up and running the AGM (including the Happy Hour of course) which was an enjoyable and interesting event. Ding Dong chose a good location, Grant was very efficient as the Secretary, Sean kept matters moving forward while allowing for plenty of discussion and Steve Blockley provided are really good insight to the development of the new Air Operations Branch. Ginge was 'Presidential'. Thanks too to the behind the scene workers including Ian Fish (accounts) and Dave Lowry (excellent written update on the museums). Per ardua ad astra. Richard
10th June 2018 at 9:27 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:89 Characters
Or indeed, "Association of Fighter Control Air and Operations Officers"! ......
10th June 2018 at 8:04 pm
PersonMike Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:82 Characters
Sean,

I hope you didn't actually mean "intentional mistake"!

Mike
10th June 2018 at 1:14 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:816 Characters
Dear all, the eagle eyed among you spotted a mistake on the summary notes in the post below and the PDF survey detail regarding Q3 which should have read:

[65% of respondents, felt it important or very important to retain the term “Fighter Control” in the title of the Association. The most preferred name was the “Association of Fighter Control Air and Operations Officers”]

and not the “Association of Air Operations and Fighter Control Officers”; an intentional mistake I can assure you, one which was easily missed by those reviewing the raw results; but it is subtle, and I hope you will agree, an important distinction which was why the question was phrased the way it was. We will of course record the correct statement at the AGM.

Sorry for any confusion or angst this may have caused.

Sean
7th June 2018 at 4:30 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Thanks Sean. If your possible 'webonair' is anything akin to the webinars in which my dearly-beloved has to participate as part of her ongoing legal education, it will probably prove a bridge too far. They involve registration with a host, passwords, precise timing and headphones with a microphone - and even within such an established and routinely-used environment they rarely proceed without some sort of glitch or delay! I think it would be quite sufficient for our purposes to make available a straight audio/visual recording of Blockers' spiel plus Q&A from those present and any prior questions submitted via the website - although it's tricky submitting questions before hearing the presentation. With this last point in mind, could Steve perhaps be persuaded to field any subsequent questions via the website once the recording is available?
6th June 2018 at 5:16 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: AGM - Questions For Gp Capt Blockley - June 18   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:167 Characters
Please use this for specific questions to Blockers at the AGM that I can then ask on your behalf. We do intend recording the discussion for those not attending.

Sean
6th June 2018 at 5:13 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Hi Mike;

yes we do plan to record the AGM; but are hoping to do some form of live 'webonair' where people can add questions via text - but the only option I have found is at a cost (but it might be worth it) but we are still looking at options such as Facebook live. Blockers intends to more of a Q&A Session so we can get the most out of it. To that end - I will set up a separate thread in this 'Change of Mandate discussion forum' so that anyone not attending can to table a specific question to be answered and I will ask it on your / their behalf on the day.

hope that helps?
6th June 2018 at 10:35 am
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
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Sean, may I add a plea on behalf of myself and the vast majority of Association members who won't be at the AGM for Blockers' presentation on the AOB/Transformation Programme to be recorded, audio/visually if at all possible (and FC/ABMs are a technologically advanced species are we not!?), and made widely available. I'm sure that elements within it will prove key to the upcoming discussions - and we owe Steve a wider audience than he will get on the day as thanks for his efforts and time in putting it together and coming along to deliver it.
5th June 2018 at 6:06 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Hi Richard,

Yes a really good response rate, one would normally expect iro 40-50% so indicative of the general interest in having a say. As you note that any change to the constitution will need a separate vote. I think we have an idea from the survey what members think is important and essentially what good could look like. I'd like to find away now to ensure that we put the effort into providing an enduring solution that meets the expectations of as close to 100% of the membership as possible. I'm hoping the first step will be a broader discussion on the RAF''s Transformation programme which can only help to refine our way forward. In reality the speed at which we take this forward rests on having a strong team with good cross section of views to work on what a new constitution might look like and how it might be implemented. I'm after volunteers to help in this 'staff effort' ....

Let's see where the discussions on the 16th take us

All the best

Sean
5th June 2018 at 1:20 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

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Sean, thank you for the update on the survey - it was a good response rate which will hopefully allow the committee to propose the way ahead on the 16th although as we all know, any change to the constitution or indeed rules will need a formal proposal & vote at a later date. My hope is that this matter is given a firm date for a decision rather than just drift on.

Richard
4th June 2018 at 8:26 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3656 Characters
Dear All,

Thanks for remaining engaged especially for those of you who took the time to complete the Survey. As I mentioned when we started the work on the Survey, this is about providing information on what members want from their Association and so what is presented "is what it is". I will be sending the full report out via email as an attachment in due course, but here is an extract from the main text. For those eagle eyed Forum watches this is the second post as the first done earlier whilst on my Android tablet caused some cut and paste errors. so here is attempt 2!

Response Rate


A total of 269 invitations to the survey were issued. 9 members opted out of the survey and only 1 email was detected as having bounced. 4 members advised that they had not seen the survey. Two of these members provided alternate email addresses which subsequently worked and the remaining 2 were sent a separate link to the survey so they could complete it. A total of 176 responses were received representing 64.5% of the membership which is a very high response rate.

Main Summary:

The overall majority of respondents (70%) felt that the FCA should update its constitution to accommodate membership from serving officers of the new Air Operations Branch, with only 17% stating that it should not; 65% of respondents, however, felt it important or very important to retain the term “Fighter Control” in the title of the Association. The most preferred name was the “Association of Air Operations and Fighter Control Officers”. However, only 28% of respondents felt it was important or very important to organise events based upon the sub-specialisations if the mandate was changed to reflect the wider membership group thus suggesting there was an appetite to maintain a coherence in the revised Association if change was subsequently adopted.

It was very clear that the respondents wanted the Association to protect and champion the Fighter Control heritage with 97% responding it was either important or very important. However, slightly less (76%) felt it was either important or very important to investigate and promote the ties of the Air Operations branch and the wider derivation of Fighter Control within the overall banner of Air C2. Even less (62%) felt it was either important or very important to protect the heritage of ATC and Flight Operations and the Fighter Control Branch. This could suggest a very narrow focus on protecting only the Fighter Control Branch when compared to question 4.

Not surprisingly, given the discussions on the RAFFCA message board leading up to and during the survey, a total of 97% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the RAFFCA provided a valuable social framework for friends and like-minded people.

There were 2 questions relating to potential broader activities that the Association could undertake. Whilst 84% of respondents felt it was important or very important to work with welfare associations such as RAFA, only 47% of respondents felt it was important or very important to help serving members or those transitioning into civvy street with coaching or mentoring.

Conclusion


It is concluded that, whilst there was a case for changing the mandate, it would appear that Members viewed the primary purpose of the Association to be social rather than anything more active but that the Association should very much protect the Fighter Control heritage.


I hope you find this initial extract of value - as I say, the discussion should shift to what we do armed with this information.

Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the AGM.

Sean
Chairman
31st May 2018 at 10:14 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Folks, Just a quick note to say the survey has now been closed and we have had an excellent response rate of just over 64%. I shall prepare a draft report for Sean and Grant ready for the AGM. Once I have the confirmation they are both happy, I will delete the survey and all email addresses from the system.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the survey and my special thanks to both Sean and Grant for helping to pull the design together so quickly.
30th May 2018 at 5:18 pm
PersonMike Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:88 Characters
Jan is quite right; the Law of Unintended Consequences would undoubtedly come into play.
30th May 2018 at 4:10 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Such a nice word, that ('postulate'), don't you think, Richard? I too would like to postulate (whilst remembering my stance on the whole question!) the hypothetical scenario of the new eligibility criteria discriminating against members of the former non-FC/non-ABM branches who (having retired prior to 1 April 2018) would not become eligible for membership while their serving colleagues - as members of the new Branch - would be eligible! If the intention is to open up the FCA to members of the AOB who might not have any 'AD' qualification, why shouldn't their predecessors be granted equal eligibility? I am NOT, I hastily add, advocating that approach at all; quite the opposite, in fact! It is, though, an example of the sort of query that will need considering as part of the overall question (of opening the Association's eligibility criteria to others) before any decision can be reached!
30th May 2018 at 1:37 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Looks like the take-up rate for the survey is good and should give us all an indication whether change is possible or not (and there is never a need to flog a dead donkey). Mike (Good - still on my Christmas card list) has postulated a couple of scenarios, deduced some 'facts' and come to a conclusion. I take a different view. I would be sad to lose touch with the current air force and those who are doing a job that I at least could recognize as something akin to what I did. I think if we don't keep in touch with the current air force, our 'heritage' would gradually whither too. As far as I can tell, no one is suggesting opening-up the FCA to past ATC and Flt Ops officers - the focus is on the future AOB. Perhaps we should listen to Steve Blockley at the AGM and learn a bit more about the AOB before slamming the door and consigning the FCA to history?

Richard
29th May 2018 at 10:29 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:145 Characters
Apologies for the typo in my last message. The survey has not been rigged or hacked by the Russians. It should read 64% response rate not 674%!
29th May 2018 at 9:45 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:516 Characters
Regardless of the outcome, we do have diverse backgrounds, opinions and outlooks on change regardless of belonging to the same FC family. I think having the chance to debate this and have some options on the table is a worthwhile and healthy exercise and should be applauded. I hope you all have a great AGM and I am sorry I cannot be there.

One quick plug for the survey, we have a 674% response rate which is really good but if we can reduce the outstanding 100 or so responses that would be great.

Al squared
29th May 2018 at 4:41 pm
PersonMike Greatorex

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Officer Good's post deserves a blue plaque on the wall.
28th May 2018 at 9:14 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:41 Characters
I think I want a 'Like' button!
28th May 2018 at 8:51 pm
PersonMike Good

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"It was a dark and stormy night......." (Snoopy 1971) well, evening anyway. And since it's chucking it down outside, an opportunity for more idle thoughts....
-
Let's suppose for a minute that we do decide to go down the "all change" route - what would actually happen? I reckon it would go one of two ways:-
-
Route 1. I hope I'm not putting ideas in anybody's head here, but if I were one of those more senior serving officers pushing for change, I would quickly arrange for some members of the other precursor sub-specialisations to be appointed to the Committee and get them to press gang as many currently serving members with those backgrounds to join, thus quickly and irrevocably setting the new arrangements in stone. I would then make sure that the various AOB training establishments impressed upon those youngsters joining the new branch what a potentially career-enhancing move it would be to join the Association! (Remember how The RAF Benevolent Fund used the same tactic to sign us up for life at OCTU?). The risk for us is obvious - loss, or at least dilution, of our identity and history within a larger and more diverse organisation. I expect that we FCs would somehow manage to retain some degree of coherence within the new mass, but wouldn't we then be just an association within an association? And I would expect that the former ATC and Flt Ops recruits would tend to form their own cliques as well.
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Route 2. On the other hand, if the proponents of "all change" do not stuff the Committee or actively push recruiting, I doubt that there would be a natural rush amongst those entering the new branch to immediately join, and be active in, an association. They will have other priorities, like passing courses, serving their country and living their young lives. So, although we will have changed our Association's proud name and its constitution, in practice nothing much will have altered on the ground until time passes and this new breed of Air Operators develops an ethos of their own, joins the association and forms yet another clique!
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Either way, from a Fighter Control perspective, it looks to me like a lose/lose situation. That's why I'm in favour of the "do nothing" solution and am quite happy for the AOB to establish its own association, with which we should, of course, foster a close relationship. Yes, the FCA will then eventually fade away but, for me, that is preferable to abandoning the shared ethos that was the basis of its creation and opening up membership to people who, by their own admission, don't identify with us, in an attempt to ensure its everlasting life. I can't recall any of the Associations of disbanded RAF squadrons inviting members from other squadrons to join just to keep them going. And I presume, Sean, that your 'Shackleton Association' will not be welcoming personnel associated with other aircraft types to bolster its dwindling numbers. Most military associations accept that they have a limited life and that they will eventually fade away. Perhaps we should too.
-
(I am taking the flash of lightning and roll of thunder that occurred just as I finished this piece as a sign that the Gods agree!).
26th May 2018 at 9:54 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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It's hard not to have the corners of one's mouth tilting at least slightly upwards when reading Mike's contributions to this debate and not just for the tongue-in-cheek (aka 'cheeky') way he has in putting across his very persuasive points. Not that I needed persuading, of course, as I am already of the opinion that the do-nothing option should be pursued with all vim and vigour, having convinced myself that my only other choice - a selective and conditional membership of the FCA for those of the AOB who met eligibility criteria that were essentially those currently in force - would be a non-starter for the reasons many have already given in this thread.

Nobody should doubt the integrity and sincerity of the Officers and Members of the Committee when they assure us that polls were conducted among officers of the former ATM and Flt Ops branches and that the results showed overwhelming support for the ideas put forward by those who, in all likelihood, were overseeing the polls. Nevertheless, it is hard not to be a little sceptical, as scant evidence has been proffered to illustrate the extent of the polls within the ATM/Flt Ops branches or indeed the reasons given by those polled for there never having previously been an ATM- or Flt Ops-orientated banding together of a form similar to the FCA. Many of us keep coming back to this latter fact without there being any relevant explanation for the lack of interest in any form of association in the past, something that seems inconsistent when there is the assertion that we have only this one chance to make a difference. To be honest, that just sounds like the television mattress and furniture advertisements of a Bank Holiday weekend: "Hurry, Hurry! Offer ends Monday!".

I really don't have anything much to add to Mike's erudite and humorous piece; suffice to say that I would wish for his turn of phrase and ability to chastise while remaining conciliatory, but those who know me are already well aware that'll never be!! So, however futile the gesture might be on 16 June, I shall be voting against any proposal to make changes to the Constitution (or Rules) that amend the membership eligibility criteria and I am likely to vote against any move to establish working groups intended to investigate the wording of any such amendments for the future. In short, I shall vote for the status quo. I dearly hope that others do too!

Jan
26th May 2018 at 9:42 pm
PersonMike Greatorex

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:4281 Characters
Hi Sean

I appreciate you taking time to respond to my musings. First may I say how heartening it is to know that the quality of talent currently being recruited by the RAF is still the same as it was 40-odd years ago. Insert wry grin/wink emoji here.


I do not envy your task of trying to nail this particular blancmange to the wall and it doesn’t help that clods like me failed to fully register all of the content of your previous letters, particularly the results of the poll questions posed to the ATM & Flt Ops branches. Mea culpa, thanks for restating the poll findings for my benefit.


Without implying the questions were slanted in any way, it is my experience that the outcomes of such polls often reflect how they were phrased. I have also found that what people say in their responses doesn’t necessarily translate into how they act in reality. While is nice that the polls indicate former ATM and Flt Ops officers think the FCA would be a really good association to join, it serves only to sharpen the question why this should be the case when we have had difficulty attracting new members from the former FC/ABM serving cohort. What are they seeing that our ‘own’ are missing? I feel the historic recruiting issue pre-dates any reticence attributed lately to uncertainty about which direction the FCA will take following the AO branch formation. More likely it is as JB said … we are simply not perceived as relevant to them. Obviously we all desire to change that but at the risk of seeming defeatist, I don’t see how that can be achieved now. Of course, if the answers were all easy, I would have retired as CAS. Insert ‘you have to be kidding’ emoji here.


The point has already been made that serving officers have the RAF itself as their main social outlet and the bonding of AO branch constituents will be best done in that environment. The support for the few social events the FCA organizes is not exactly stellar and that leads me to wonder whether poll returns indicating support for ‘all of one’ and additional cohort-specific events within a renamed FCA would actually be well enough attended. Again, my apologies if I’m shading between negativity and reality but that is how it appears to me.


For the FCA to adjust its membership criteria without a name change would be impossible, accepting that it is too difficult and divisive to try to selectively identify candidate sub-specializations/qualifications within the AO branch. Thus, and restating the obvious, the FCA must change its name if it is to enable all-inclusive membership and bring in new blood. I have already said that I am against that idea but I could live with it if I thought it would deliver the goals envisaged. But will it? Who is going to take on the very significant workload involved in evolving the FCA into the AOA, or whatever name is chosen? Our current committee seemingly finds it hard to attract members who are willing to take on the tasks as they are now. Is it fair or realistic to ask them to assume so much more? If not them, then who? May we look hopefully to the serving officers who polled so positively in favour of joining the FCA to turn their overwhelming support for the association into something more tangible?


Lastly, I have to say I felt your final remark querying whether the membership viewed welcoming the AO branch into our ranks as either threat or opportunity sounded rather pejorative. I doubt you intended it that way. I agree it would be great if the perceived opportunity could be translated into the results desired but wishing it so doesn’t mean it will happen. If we opt for change and fail, there would be no going back and that would be more than unfortunate. Not trying guarantees that outcome, of course, but on this occasion I actually favour the ‘do nothing’ option.


Despite the often persuasive arguments put forward by smarter and more current minds than mine, I remain wedded to the idea of an FCA affiliated to a new, independently formed AO branch association. Whatever the outcome, though, I will be with the association in spirit going forward and hopefully in person at some time, too.


“You bet your sweet (insert age-old profanity here) there is!”


GTX
20th May 2018 at 6:52 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Hi GTX;

glad you are enjoying France regardless of the weather. Thanks for your post, I'm not going to go back over old ground already on the previous posts on the forum for why we are at turning point and JB does wrap it up quite succinctly. But I thought I would recover one aspect to which directly ask a valid RFI. I have covered this in one of my previous letters to the membership but to recap: early last year as part of the RAF's BM Transformation process, members of the then ATM and Flt Ops branches were polled to see what they would want from and Association and whether the Assn of Fighter Control Officers would meet that aspiration if it amend its membership criteria to accept those serving officers from the new Air Ops Branch. We had a good number of responses and the key highlights were an overwhelming support for an association that:

Represented the AO Branch and principally protected its heritage
Provided a shared social endeavor with both 'all of one' events and the ability to have cohort specific events.

Principally there was a strong recognition that the FCA was a really good association for them to join and that would be thier preference; moreover that there would be need to ensure the origins and heritage of the current FCA were properly protected. The final question was that if the FCA could not adjust its membership criteria would they be interested in setting up their own Association.

It is this final point which is worth noting. As JB said, we have a short window of opportunity to demonstrate to those current serving FC/ABM legacy cohort who have held off joining that we are considering change. My sense is that is there is no progress by the end of the year they will have just got fed up and started on their own. Is that a bad thing for the Air Ops branch to do? - probably not. Will it stop any future draw into the FCA of new membership - most probably.

My loyalties are very much to the FCA having been a member for well over 25 Years; I really want to see it not only survive but also genuinely give something back to a whole new generation of people who are, in essence, not so different from us when we joined. During my Command at Cranwell, I saw the fantastic talent the Air Force in currently managing to recruit - the association would be so much better off if we could tap into that engender and enthusiasm.

But as I have also said, if the membership sees more threat than opportunity in welcoming the AO branch into our ranks; then I will do all I can to put the Association on as solid as footing as I can so it can carry on for as long as possible.

Hope that helps?

Sean
14th May 2018 at 6:13 pm
PersonMike Greatorex

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Greetings from a very wet campsite alongside the Loire. What better to do on a rainy afternoon part-way through a 3-month motorhome tour of Europe than to figure out how to get back on the FCA website in order to catch up on the debate about the Association’s future? Err, yes - exactly, go find a cave and do some serious wine tasting. Still, here I am instead, proof - if any is needed - that I might just be losing my edge at last.

Like JB, I had 28 years as a Fighter Controller under my belt when I retired in 2004 and moved to Spain. I regret that time and distance - too little of the former when I was working and too much of the latter always - have prevented me from attending any of the FCA events or the Engineers’ Walk since then. I will try harder in that regard but I am still an FC at heart and I trust this qualifies me to lob my faded SD cap into the ring.

Like everyone else here, I was delighted to learn of the creation of the AOB and I wish it every success. If I could have waved a magic wand back in 1989 when I returned from a 3-year exchange with the USMC, I would have created an integrated Air C3 system like theirs and manned it with people from every one of the branches now populating the AOB. I suspect, though, that Mike Good might have pulled rank to pinch the wand and implement his most prescient vision of the future first, which would have been fair I suppose, provided he at least gave me credit for the magic wand idea. While I find it staggering that it has taken so many decades to reach this milestone, it was gratifying to read from serving officers that interoperability and multi-tasking across the specializations has at least been going on at the pointy end for some time. Bravo Zulu!

So far, so anodyne, nothing contentious there. Now to the gritty bit. Much as I welcome the formation of the AOB, I am against the idea of changing this association’s name and - quite probably - its ethos simply in order to fish for future members in the new branch’s pool. Unless there has been a change recently that passed me by, the FCA has historically found it difficult to recruit serving officers in the OSB(FC) and ABM branches. As JB observed, the type of person joining the RAF today is not the same as we were back then and the linkage between the current generation of our direct successors and the FCA has already been lost. I do not doubt it and no amount of rebranding is going to alter those facts. To suppose in addition that we can broaden our appeal to gather in the ATC and Ops Support component of the AOB is an even bigger reach. If they have not cared enough to have formed their own branch associations to date, what kind of hubris imagines that they will jump at the chance to join ours, renamed or otherwise?

We are what we are - an association of 327 members comprised mostly of veterans, old lags and a slack handful of serving officers who cherish our heritage and want to play a part in taking that forward. The work done by past committee members and the Three Wise Men (written with the greatest respect, gentlemen) to capture and enshrine our history (particularly at Bentley Priory) has been remarkably successful and is a credit to all involved. However, I fail to see why the FCA should - let alone, could - expand to do the same for ATC and Ops Support branches were they to be assimilated into the FCA.

The AOB is destined to be the third largest branch in the RAF and from 1 April 2018 it has started writing a whole new chapter into our proud 100 year history. I believe firmly that the AOB should form its own association to bring the individual branch members together on a fresh and equal footing from the outset. As an ATC or Ops Support officer merging into the AOB today, I would take a lot of persuading to join a re-badged, slightly buffed up version of an association populated mostly by the old and bold of a branch that no longer exists. Our motives would be transparently obvious whatever we might claim to the contrary. What Mike Good wrote about the Rifles Association was spot on.

I sense - though I may be wrong - that while trying to remain neutral our Chairman would like to advance the FCA as the core of an AOB association and it is clear that he has support from within our group to that end. I can see the attractions but overall I feel the price is not worth the admittance. It would be enlightening to know what Sean’s counterparts from within the ATC and Ops Support streams are thinking and saying about the subject? Have they counter proposals in train? For that matter, do they actually care much at this time?

I may have missed it in my scans through the previous posts but has there been any consideration given to the idea of positioning the FCA to become formally affiliated with a new AOB association if/when one should come into existence? Establishing that kind of relationship would enable the FCA to retain its unique identity now and for the next couple of decades, while creating the conduit we desire to pass our heritage on to those who have taken over from us. Obviously, this course would eventually lead to the demise of the FCA in its present form but as has already been mentioned, there is precedent with even more illustrious associations. Not much lasts forever in its original form. Given a decent run at it, we ought to be able to pass the baton forward via affiliated memberships and I suggest we stand a better chance of doing it that way than by a full frontal takeover bid now. Of course, all this assumes that there is actually an appetite to form an AOB association in the relatively near future. If we wait for a year or so and nothing happens on that front, perhaps that would be the time to step up to the crease?

If you’re still with me, thanks for staying the course. It’s still raining here. Had it stopped an hour ago, I would have, too. May I leave you with this thought? I sincerely hope that those who worked hardest to create the AOB were Fighter Controllers at heart, be they former GD/Grd/FC, OSB(FC) or the ABM-age equivalent. It needed doing, even though it finally killed off the Fighter Control branch. It is my equally sincere hope that they will not be so eager to kill off the name completely in an effort to turn the Fighter Control Association into something it was never created to be.

My very best regards to you all,

GTX
13th May 2018 at 8:33 pm
PersonJohn Booth

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Dear All,

So my posts on the forum can be counted on one hand but I finally came to the conclusion that given this discussion and the importance of the decision being made I wanted my voice to be heard. Up front I support the change to name and membership entitlement and deem it necessary.

I have tried to read the whole thread, which has taken a while! And I see that comments about previous branches and qualifications have been used to varying degrees. I come up to 28 years this year having joined the General Duties branch and qualifying as a Intercept Controller - after going through many many iterations I am now an Air Operations (Control) Branch officer. I have seen 'the flag' and the call 'is there a fighter controller in house' fall from favour as the type of person joining the RAF changes. The distance between an officer joining the Air Ops Branch and my personal past is vast - as most acutely experienced during my tour as OC SABM. I will be brutally honest here - there is no viable link between the majority of those going through Phase 2 training and the Fighter Control Association. We are simply not relevant (to them).

However, in the change to our mandate we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to alter that. By opening up membership to the whole of the Air Ops Branch we show ourselves to be inclusive and welcoming. Those of us who are a little longer in the tooth have the responsibility of showing the 'new blood' what came before the Air Ops Branch and what was achieved. It is up to us to attract those new members in and then demonstrate the rich history. I for one am not intimidated nor worried about the change - the history remains set and won't alter just because we change. One thing I am sure of though, is that if we fail to change, we are the generation who will be consigning the RAF FCA to no more than a few decades more before disappearing.

Without that change I fail to see how we will attract new membership - how can I advocate the RAF FCA to a fellow Air Ops branch officer? If we can't attract new membership the decline of the association is assured. I still have at least 11 years left serving and hope to see the newly named RAF FCA go from strength-to-strength.

Building on the Chairman's call to move on the debate the (newly named) association should (continue) to serve as a social enterprise. An organisation that links the past with the future. It should provide advocacy for the Air Operation Branch - remember that the Air Ops Branch is the 3rd largest in the RAF (c.1200 officers) - that could allow our association to become a real force to be reckoned for - one that could do so very much more in recording and celebrating our history. And, of course, provide an environment for the newly joined to reach out to those who have more experience.

Yours,

JB
11th May 2018 at 8:34 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:6321 Characters
Dear all,
very many apologies but I have checked back to find that a post I had thought had been uploaded seems not to have made it to the forum page so this will be a bit longer than planned! It’s good to see that this forum is proving useful in airing concern and offering viewpoints and experience.

Firstly – George: thanks for your post but I wish to assure you that we are not intending to 'reach a decision at the AGM'. Whichever way we decide to take the FCA will need a change to the constitution and that will be put out to a specific ballot which will require a 3/4 majority to enact. At the moment all we are looking for is an indication from the membership that doing the leg work to make any change to reflect the stand-up of the air ops branch is wanted as I would not want to waste members time working through all the issues to arrive at a new constitution if it the resultant can never be passed.

Turning to the main reason for my belated post....

I am not going to synthesise all the discussion but one thing that is a constant theme from those not serving is more information of the Air Operations Branch and the associated Transformation programme. To that end Gp Capt Steve Blockley (Director National AD and Space Operations) has kindly agreed to come to the AGM to brief and take questions from those attending. As I mentioned earlier, we will try to host some form of PODCAST for those who can't make it on the day.

It is also clear that taking a binary vote to accept membership from the new cohort of Air Operations branch members, as we agreed in December, risked alienating an important segment of our membership.
Therefore, in order to start the next phase of the debate I'd like to share a vision of what the Association could evolve into whilst holding true to its current Raisin d'etre and its founding values which have been so eloquently articulated in the previous threads. I see an association that is centred around 3 main artefacts:

1. It should serve as a social enterprise for those who feel they have a common sense of purpose to both Fighter Control and Air Operations Branches.

2. It should seek to provide advocacy for the Air Operations Branch and champion the attributes of its people, both inside and outside the Service; principally by promoting the rich heritage that gives us our 'uniqueness'. It should protect and champion that Heritage.

3. Provide a network of mentors and coaches to assist both those who seek to develop themselves within the Service or those beginning or progressing through careers outside.

I would like to think that is not too far from the goals of the Association in its current mandate. I am particularly seized on the need to do more on developing our heritage narrative beyond that of the Battle of Britain. Deployable Air C2 in Suez, Aden and standing FC commitments in the far East in the 50s and 60's have huge relevance to what we are asking of our young men and women embarking on their Air Operations careers today. Moreover, as so elegantly put by Colin Nash, Richard Jenner and others in the preceding posts, few really understand our contribution during the cold war. Indeed for the last 75 years our contribution to keeping the nation secure from threats has extended far beyond the confines of the UK ADGE. So this must be an area to be further explored.

So what next -

To enact any change the current constitution will take a ‘three fourths’ majority vote - but the thorny issue is how to get there. I think there is a lot of work to do and this will need several work streams running in parallel and it will take a cross section of our membership to actively work these through to conclusion (I agree this can’t be rushed) .

But before committing to this endeavor, I do think we need a solid indication that a majority of the membership think that this work is worthwhile. If the straight majority do not see a need for the association to change then we can just crack on and conduct our routine business as usual change in the usual manner. If, however, more than half want us to investigate change then I would look to get that work started soonest. There is an important message to the external audience here – that is, if we are actively looking at how we could accommodate new membership from Officers of the Air Operations Branch then we will retain both the initiative and our relevance and therefore 'buy time' to do this properly.

To inform this work, Al Allison has very kindly offered to run an electronic survey and the committee has agreed to combine an initial ‘vote’ on whether or not we embark down this road into that survey. That survey will also pose a set of questions (independently checked by DSLT for neutrality) that will give some real fidelity as to what you, the Membership, want out of your Association. That way, if the majority opt for no change to the existing membership eligibility at Q1, we will still have lots of useful survey data for how to take the Association forward. We can also further investigate options for a name change in the same survey.

To that end you should have now received an email from the Secretary letting you know to expect a separate email from a company called Teallrisk, with an email address of: teallrisk@btopenworld. This email will contain a link to the survey, using an application called 'surveymonkey.co.uk'. If you don't see the mail appearing in your 'In' box, please do check your Spam and Junk folders. The cut-off date for returns will be set for 31 May so that we can report the initial broad order findings at the AGM for further discussion.

I am also asking for volunteers to shoulder some of the investigation and subsequent ‘staff work’ to take forward the results of the survey, either in a lead or supporting role. If you are interested, please email me (sean.oconnor759@mod.gov.uk) or the Sec (secretary@raffca.org.uk) to register intent with an idea of how much time you can commit. Please indicate if you have a specific interest such as: Membership, Financial/business plan/social enterprise/heritage or anything you think should be captured as part of this work.

Thanks once again for your time and forbearance.

Sean
5th May 2018 at 10:28 am
PersonElizabeth May Norton

Category: General Discussions
Topic: 100th Anniversary Of The Formation Of The RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:139 Characters
Ginge, fab to see you too. It was a wonderful occasion.

Thank you to the FCA for the opportunity to attend and represent the FCA.

Lizzie
5th May 2018 at 9:05 am
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: General Announcements
Topic: RAF Neatishead Reunion - 23 September 2018 (Updated)   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1015 Characters
This is just a 'heads up' as many details have yet to be decided. The RAF Air Defence Radar Museum is planning an RAF Neatishead Reunion to be held at the RRH Site on Sunday 23 September 2018. It will be open to anyone who served or was employed at the station in any capacity. The Saturday immediately before, 22 September 2018, will be the ADRM Friends Day. If you are interested please block that day(s) in your calendar. More details will be available nearer the date. If you have a fairly firm intention to attend, please send me an e-mail: davele7@hotmail.com It will help gauge numbers but it won't be a booking and you won't be held to it.

Current thoughts are for a £10 entrance fee but this includes a hog roast. As well as tours around the site and ADRM it is planned to have tours in the Bunker. There will also be other attractions including some for children. However, it's early days, treat this as a 'heads up'.

Dave Lowry (FCA Museums Liaison/ADRM Trustee)
4th May 2018 at 2:33 pm
PersonGeorge Keith

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:998 Characters
There is quite a lot that I would like to say on this matter, but probably too much for this forum. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the AGM and so all I will say at this stage is that I hope the Meeting does not intend to reach a decision on the issue. Like others, I do not understand the need to reach a speedy resolution. It would be both disappointing and counterproductive if we took a decision that we later regretted. There is much that we don't understand. I, for example, was unaware of the degree to which ABM and ATC operators were integrated in Afghanistan. At the risk of seeming bureaucratic, might there be merit in the Association creating a small working group, comprising 'the old and bold' and serving members to, pull together the information necessary to inform the community, canvass views as widely as possible, and make an appropriate recommendation? I would suggest that no artificial deadline be set - let the process take as long as necessary.
3rd May 2018 at 10:27 am
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:588 Characters
Actually, Richard, I wasn't suggesting that the membership wouldn't reach a resolution of the eligibility question at the AGM. It was more an indication of my concern that the resolution might turn on the meeting being quorate (proxies allocated to Chairman) and the majority being in favour of change. At one stage, it had been suggested that there might be a postal 'EGM', but that seems to have been forgotten; although I didn't think then that that route would have been constitutional, it was an option to get a 'feeling' of people's opinions.
3rd May 2018 at 8:47 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1248 Characters
I'm a bit concerned by Jan's last paragraph (1 May posting) suggesting that we might not reach a resolution of membership eligibility on 16 June. I'm flying down especially for the AGM (and taking a very late flight home afterwards as I have an early commitment here on the Sunday) so I would hope that we at least have some meaningful progress if not resolution at the meeting. Preparation is key I suggest and we really need the options and arguments put before the membership before we meet. What are the options? I suppose prevaricate is always one option (form a working group and report back....), do nothing (ie no change) is another and accept AOB members is another clear option. There are some who seek a middle ground based on the qualifications of AOB officers although whether this is practical or even desirable is not clear (to me). If eligibility is to change, then the name of the association also has to be considered.

There is still time to prepare the ground for a decision on 16 June (I think the canvassing members first opportunity is rapidly disappearing) but it will need some action from our hard pressed committee. I'd be struggling to know what to do right now if I had to assign a proxy.

Richard
2nd May 2018 at 10:15 am
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:439 Characters
Good morning Jan. Just to clarify, I didn't forget Flight Operations, it's just that in the period I was covering they simply didn't appear on my radar (see what I did there?). Back then, I don't think anybody joined the RAF for a career in Flt Ops; it was mainly the province of superannuated aircrew although others, including FCs, did find themselves there, usually because of individual circumstances at the time.
1st May 2018 at 9:09 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Employment Opportunities
Topic: Cyber Risk Manager - Insurance Sector   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:787 Characters
Position update: The role remains vacant and I am just about to go out to the wider market as we have not found anyone internally. For those unsure of their suitability, I can assure you that your knowledge of JSP 440 Security Manual, or what ever it may now be called, will stand you in good stead as will your innate skills and competencies of being in the FC/ABM/AOB branch. If you have a positive approach to starting a new life outside, this is a good way to break into the commercial sector. The base salary range is £59,000 to £79,000, possibly higher for an exceptional candidate and a raft of other benefits. The Company is Bupa Insurance Ltd. Please contact me on Alastair.allison@bupa.com if only for a non-committal chat. (Apologies Northy, can't do Agencies!!)
1st May 2018 at 8:58 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:638 Characters
Whilst personally I am struggling to see the magnitude of the consequences that would prevent a decision being reached at the AGM (it will hardly interrupt our drinking habits and ability to get together after all), has any further thought been given to surveying the wider membership to canvass their views rather than just the relative small numbers that have contributed here? I am assuming that this cannot be the first time an association has faced this dilemma so I wonder if there are some protocols we can adopt to at least ensure we are striving for an end date rather than letting this go on ad infinitum - as amusing as it is.
1st May 2018 at 7:11 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2217 Characters
Thank you, Mike! What an excellent précis of the situation in which we find ourselves.

You are right, of course, that the RAF has long needed the kind of approach that has resulted in the founding of the AOB, using the best abilities and talents of the personnel available in the most appropriate role, whether it be Area, Terminal, Local, WC or Systems. What you left out, though, was the place in all that of the branch previously known as 'Flight Operations'! Fortunately, you went on to remind us all that the point of this discussion was not to opine on the efficacy of the RAF Board's decision, but to determine - or provide an informed argument to the determination of - what should happen to our Association!

I, as I have already made clear, tend towards the extreme that would limit the eligibility for membership of those NEW members of the AOB (i.e. members of the AOB who had never previously been in any one of the amalgamated branches) to those who had an affiliation with the previous specialisation of ABM, by virtue of the task in which they are employed or in which they are qualified to be employed. I appreciate that there are those who have already stated their total rejection of the idea of differentiating between one member of the AOB and another (to the extent of rejecting their own membership of an association that were to differentiate in such a way), but it is not - as you put it so well, Mike - about the AOB, but about the Association ... and its current membership! Out of all this, of course, rises another question concerning the eligibility for membership of those who had retired from the ATM or Flight Ops branches BEFORE the formation of the AOB; if membership of the AOB were to be the prime criterion for membership of the FCA, what limitation could or should be placed on those who had retired from one of the branches that made up the AOB?

To my mind, as evidenced by this thread of discussion, the consequences of the decision(s) facing us, the current FCA membership, are too great to be reached after a meeting on 16 June 2018 of probably no more than 90 - 120 minutes, especially if the vast majority of the current membership will not be there!!
1st May 2018 at 10:37 am
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:6678 Characters
Good to hear from some serving members and I'd just like to add my own historical postscript to the sage words of Messrs Jenner and Nash (dodgy solicitors of no fixed percentage?).
-
I wouldn't like anybody to think that I have any problem at all with the RAF's creation of the AOB and what it seeks to achieve. In fact, in my view it is well overdue. I'm a long-standing advocate of exactly what the AOB will finally achieve - a single point of entry into the world of air battle management. I've written papers in the past about "fishing from the same pool" and my reasoning was based on my early experiences at Buchan and Boulmer when we worked alongside the Air Traffic Wardens at Highland and Border Radars respectively "down the hole", and then as an instructor (and latterly OC Basic Course) at the SFC at Bawdsey then West Drayton. In the former situation I saw, and drank with, younger Area Radar mates who were obviously very capable and had often been "creamed off" straight from Shawbury into Area. After a while they became intensely bored with watching aircraft doing not very much and were itching to do the sort of exciting stuff that we were engaged in next door. And at the School I saw the other side of the coin - kids who were being asked to jump from nothing to doing 3-dimensional geometry in busy airspace using a foreign language while they were still metaphorically learning how to put on the uniform. So many more of them might have eventually made the grade if they'd had a gentler introduction, like working in a tower for a while (there were even gradations there - a posting to a quieter airfield for the slower ones or a busy MOB for the swifter), or straight into Area if was thought that they could handle that. If they then continued to show potential, and the desire, they could then move on to the ultimate of Interception Control (and the introduction of the F4 with the AWG12 radar and "talking ballast" in the back seat was already making that a much less demanding task than it had been). A minority could go straight to IC, but older brethren will remember how horrendous the chop rate was at the SFC. All along my suggested path there would have been regression options too. If they tried and failed at the "next level up" they could revert to their lower level of proven competence. In this way I thought we could pretty much eliminate the wastage and save a bunch of money at the same time (eg common basic theory, single basic simulator). Like the AOB, I foresaw a single point of entry, a common theory phase followed by a practical, simulator-based streaming phase, at the end of which they'd go off to qualify at whichever establishment was teaching Local, Area or Interception Control. Should they not make it at whatever they tried first off, they could come back to be re-assessed for a lower level - the only ones we would "lose" would be those who couldn't even handle Local at a quiet airfield!
-
I tried hard to push this later when I became OC SFC and was still having to preside over a continuing high failure rate. By then, we had at least saved some of the wastage by virtue of streaming into Systems. At every turn, however, any progress towards a common entry, or even cross-fertilisation, was blocked by the intractable opposition of the ATC hierarchy. I'm therefore delighted that their successors have either developed a wider vision, undergone a Damascene conversion or, more likely, have finally been confronted by budgetary and recruiting reality! I guess it comes down to personalities in the end. As another example of that, as Richard and Colin both point out, we long argued that the title of our specialisation no longer reflected the breadth of what Fighter Controllers did and that we were now "battle managers" and that our name should be changed to reflect that. Hah! - if we thought the Air Traffic hierarchy were intransigent, this was nothing compared to the reaction of The Winged Master Race at the slightest suggestion that anyone other than themselves could possibly be allowed to manage the air battle!! So "well done" to whomsoever it was that finally fought through the "ABM" name change! Again, the personalities in The Echelons Above Reality must have changed!
-
End of historical rant. The bottom line is that I have no difficulty at all with the RAF's creation of the AOB. But that is not what this debate is about - it's about the future of our Association.
Graham and David both eloquently make the point that the current serving membership, "Don't appreciate the extent of our heritage and can't identify with the 'Fighter Control' label". Those joining after the 1st April will inevitably feel even less of a bond. However, the great majority of our Association's membership do appreciate the extent of our heritage and passionately identify with the label 'Fighter Control'. The question we therefore face is, "Do we fundamentally change our Association and change its name to accommodate this new generation who don't identify with us and, "feel alienated from the Association that seeks to support them"? (Perhaps it's indicative of the opposing views that I have always thought of that as being the other way round - ie the serving members were there to support us (eventually)!).
-
I'm open to persuasion and I tend to agree with Colin and Andy Duffus below that the technology may have changed, but the core tasks of aerospace defence look like remaining pretty much the same, it's just that not all members of the new AOB will be doing them all of the time or, indeed, at all. So, as far as membership of the Association is concerned, the debate here has established the two extremes of opinion. Excuse my crude paraphrasing but at one end we have, "From 1st April, you Fighter Controllers are dead and irrelevant; now hand over your Association so we can change its name and admit all these new animals who don't identify with you" - what Richard calls the "hostile takeover". And at the other end, "Sod off - we may possibly allow some of these new animals to join our Association if they can prove they're worthy of it". Having now established the two extreme ends of the spectrum, let's hope we are now engaged in a sensible discussion about where, between them, we might finally alight! Richard's suggested name change perhaps gives us a very useful steer....
29th April 2018 at 7:00 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: Sqn Ldr Geoff Bibby   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:484 Characters
All,

I was concerned that, recently, Geoff Bibby's email address was 'bouncing'. I called him in Hastings, New Zealand, this morning and found him in good health. However, he's 96 and has "given up on email!". Otherwise, he seems as sharp as a tack.

Geoff asked me to send his best to anyone who may have known him in his time in the branch and invited any Association member travelling in New Zealand to "drop in."

Grant Grafton
Secretary
29th April 2018 at 6:39 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:449 Characters
Details of Gordon's funeral arrangements were published in the Daily Telegraph yesterday. They are:

Wg Cdr Gordon Milne, passed away on 23rd April aged 73. Funeral to take place on Friday 4th May at Eastbourne Crematorium, Hide Hollow, Langney, Eastbourne, BN23 8AE. Family flowers only, donations if desired to RAF Benevolent Fund. Enquiries care of Haine and Son, 19 South Street, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4UJ.

Grant Grafton
Secretary
26th April 2018 at 9:02 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Where Are They Now?
Topic: Martin Coggon   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:422 Characters
Hi Grant

On the old Message Board, the 'Where Are They Now?' forum was open to the public, so that there was a wider catchment to help with a query (and to let non-members ask the same questions). This is no longer the case, so I would recommend a membership-wide email in an effort to find Martin, especially if there is an urgency that shouldn't rely on members casually dropping in to check messages.

J
26th April 2018 at 4:41 pm
PersonKate Brophy

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:49 Characters
Hi Costi,

It does answer it, thank you.

Kate :)
26th April 2018 at 3:41 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:764 Characters
Hi Kate,

You will be receiving those warnings from your browser as the site is not yet setup on the secure socket layer (SSL). Basically that would mean you type https instead of http.

It is correct that we would be more secure on the https and it is my intention of migrating the site over in time, however I can assure you that I have done everything I can to prevent your data being leaked but please be mindful that companies pay millions to protect data but people find ways of hacking in!

If you are concerned with leaving your personal data on the site then you are free to delete it, the only information the Secretary needs is your current personal email address and a phone number (for backup purposes).

Does this answer your question?

Regards
Costi
26th April 2018 at 10:55 am
PersonColin Nash

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2118 Characters
I agree entirely with Richard's recent post. I had similar thoughts myself and his suggestion about the Association's name is an excellent idea in my view since it keeps FC in the title and to the fore. I would just like to add a few points, in my unsubtle way, in support of what he said and to help counter some of the misinformation being spouted/implied about the Branch in the past. Even when I joined in 72, the term FC was a bit of a misnomer but I, perhaps like many others, found this a bit mischievous and special, especially when most other branches did not know what we did anyway. All this talk about FCs in the past only doing weapons control in bunkers etc is a load of cobblers and only indicates a lack of knowledge. It has been alleged that AD/Air C2 has changed; in emphasis perhaps but essentially, I doubt it very much. The technology may change but the principles remain the same. FCs always used to undertake whatever type of air control was required, including performing the new roles talked about now. I could give many examples, but just a few here: like many, I did a tour in Wg Ops (Wattisham in 77); swapped roles with ATC in Belize in 75 where, although FCs could do terminal ATC, our colleagues could not control Harriers for a guns attack; and Area ATC, e.g. at Neatishead when Eastern Radar, using the same T84/T85 radars, often "continged" and left us with their gaggle. As far as the argument about technology is concerned, 36 years ago, the newly forming USN F/A18 Sqn did the first Link 4 voiceless intercept over the Arizona desert controlled (insofar he ever controlled anything!) by a RAF FC on exchange with USMC MACS-7. On the subject of eligibility, if ATC people in the new AOB (or any others for that matter) join the FCA - hmmm, hilarious but fair enough (DEFCOC and all that for those who remember). But, delete reference to FC in the Association name or, as this would effectively mean, scrap the FCA , lose the history and start a new association to reflect that latest RAF reorganisation, you have lost me there! (Mr Disgruntled of West Sussex)
26th April 2018 at 10:31 am
PersonMike Good

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:445 Characters
Another big man - in every sense - taken before his time. I remember overhearing a conversation in the bar at Bentley Priory when Gordon was a wg cdr on the 11Gp staff between a couple of his sqn ldr subordinates - "The great thing about working for Wg Cdr Milne is that you always know where you stand - it's only the depth that varies". Said with wide grins and about someone they obviously respected. Me too. RIP Big Jock.
26th April 2018 at 7:07 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Where Are They Now?
Topic: Martin Coggon   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:183 Characters
I have an urgent need to get hold of Martin. If any member knows how to reach him - a phone number ideally - please get in touch with me via: 01626 351809 or 07887 765643

Grant
Sec
25th April 2018 at 7:41 pm
PersonDavid Jones

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jack Haines   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:383 Characters
Forgive the tardy response but Odette and I were very sad to see this news. Air Cdre and Mrs Haines were wonderful guests at 'Taftens' when we were at Saxa Vord. Not sure I have ever admitted to 'losing' AOSNI, but fortunately me and the ADC eventually found him, skateboarding with our 2 sons....complete with cigarette in the corner of his mouth. A great man.
25th April 2018 at 7:02 pm
PersonAndrew Knill

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:28 Characters
Very sad - a great character
25th April 2018 at 4:13 pm
PersonMike Clarke

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:138 Characters
What dreadful news. Gordon was a delight to know and had an extremely well developed sense of humour. He will be sadly missed. RIP Gordon.
25th April 2018 at 3:46 pm
PersonBrian Rogers

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:356 Characters
Very saddened at the news of Gordon's death. I had the pleasure of taking over from him twice in my career and on both occasions I knew I had a hard act to follow. He had a great sense of humour and a very measured way of "telling it as it is" but you certainly got the message! Operationally, he was the consummate professional. RIP Gordon.
25th April 2018 at 3:15 pm
PersonColin Nash

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:230 Characters
Very sad to hear about Gordon. We were together at Buchan in the late 70s, where he was universally regarded as an expert in the the management of QRA. Equally importantly, support for Partick Thistle is now greatly diminished.
25th April 2018 at 11:08 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:263 Characters
I am very sorry to hear that Gordon has died and especially sorry that he had cancer. I was at OCTU with Gordon and we had very similar career milestones. He was a jovial natural philosopher and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
25th April 2018 at 10:41 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:184 Characters
I have heard from Nick Gadd that Gordon's cremation will be on Friday 4th May, at Eastbourne Crematorium and timed for 1045. Judy Milne has requested family flowers only.

Grant
25th April 2018 at 8:49 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:42 Characters
It's sad news about Gordon.

Richard
25th April 2018 at 8:21 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:141 Characters
Judy Milne has advised that the announcement of Gordon's death will not be published until Saturday 28th April.

Grant Grafton
Secretary
24th April 2018 at 9:14 pm
PersonKate Brophy

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:289 Characters
Hey Costi,

I get numerous warnings when logging in and viewing that the website is not secure. Conscious of some of the information on here (personal details), is there anyway to make it secure? Or is it better to just remove all personal details from profiles (if thats an option).

Kate
24th April 2018 at 5:12 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:5512 Characters
It's good to see some posts, all carefully considered in my opinion, from those currently serving. While dodging the main question about eligibility for the moment, I'd like to put forward a personal view on the term 'Fighter Controller'. In many ways FC was a legacy term even in the mid-1970s. When I did my Qualified Weapons Instructor (Air Defence) course in 1975 (F4 days), the general consensus among pilots & navigators (another legacy term!) was that what they wanted from the Air Defence Ground Environment was 'Battle Management'. 'FC' was a generic term then and when asked what I did I would have said I was an IC (Interception Controller) or a DC (Display Controller) and if I'd been a bit more senior a Chief Controller (never a CC) or a CONEX (Control Executive). I would probably have been found at a MRS (Master Radar Station). In the late '70s we embraced NATO terminology (but not the NATO ADGE = NADGE) and while IC remained, DCs sort of morphed in to TPOs (although a DC could cover the roles of IDRO & TPO and even DLM), Chiefs became FAs, CONEXs became MCs and MRSs became CRCs.

Another major change in the late '70s was the so called 'de facto' split in the branch (staff officers love a Latin phrase which gives the impression that they are both educated and clever). Up to that point the only route in to the branch was to qualify as an IC. Even fairly senior aircrew joining the branch and clearly destined for more senior posts had to go through this right of passage. So to some extent all FCs of that period had been ICs. The chop rate was awful (I was an instructor at the school at the time of the split and we wasted some very good officers). The de facto split meant that you could be streamed into either control or systems. Two fg offs (Judy McCulloch & me) were given the task of writing the Basic Air Defence Course which would be a 4 week aptitude test after which streaming would occur. I think we were given 4 weeks to do it - it was hectic. But it worked. Thereafter, we needed to deal with systems students so Pat Gallanders & I were given the task of producing what was a TPO course with some IDRO thrown-in. I got the job because I'd around 2 years' experience at Buchan as a DC in the days when we were running about 400 QRA interceptions a year. I then had the pleasure (and it was) of teaching the first TPO course for direct systems officers. Even in these days, there was a feeling that the name 'FC' was out of date and not doing us any favours but all suggestions for change was firmly stamped upon.

Much of the control in the UK in the late '70s was air defence or more precisely defensive counter air but many of us went to sea with the RN where we might find ourselves 'controlling' MPA prosecuting surface or sub-surface contacts or fighter sweeps (ie offensive counter air). Those of us who went to 2ATAF and were physically nearer the potential enemy were involved in many different control techniques and very little of it was close control. On exchange with the Dutch in the early '80s a typical controlling day would be NF5s (close!), F104s (needed more help than the average Lightning), the then new Dutch F16s (mainly ACT) and USAF F15s (who did mostly ACT as well). 'Kill zones' was a technique developed to deal with overwhelming odds. By the mid-80s 2ATAF was developing CAOCs and COMAOs became the order of the day. Anyone who has experienced a particularly frantic exercise called Bold Gauntlet over north West Germany will have been heavily involved in OCA.

1ACC existed in the '70s & early '80s too and even deployed. FCs began to join the AEW force in the Shackleton era and of course FIADGE existed from 1982. I only throw all this in to the pot because I perceive from some of the recent comments that Cold War 'FCs' did nothing but close control sitting in bunkers. Yes, there was a lot of that but employment was much wider even before 1990 and the end of Cold War (#1). To my mind 'ABM' described something more akin than 'FC' to what I'd been doing since the mid-'70s. The Air Operations Branch would seem to be the logical next step although how it is implemented will be key whether it is a next step or just a re-branding. Among the old & bold (I'm just old) there are deep bruises from mis-guided attempts to merge FC & ATC because' it was the same job' when it clearly wasn't in those days. So it's not surprising that a new branch that can interchange ATC with WC stirs old wounds. This is why it is valuable to this debate to hear from those who are current about how it is working on the ground. I'm on the side of those wanting to expand eligibility to the Air Ops Branch and to retain a link to the current RAF. The association 'name' is almost as thorny a subject. Changing 'FCA' in to something else feels a bit like a hostile takeover and diminishes a legacy if it removes FC. Whether there is scope for it to be extended to something along the lines of 'The Association of RAF Fighter Control & Air Operations Officers' should be tested (trying to fit ABM in to that lot seems like a step too far in terms of a title); sadly there is no snappy shorthand so I expect FCA could linger even if the formal name was extended - would that be so bad?

Richard
24th April 2018 at 5:11 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wing Commander Gordon Milne   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:271 Characters
I have just heard from Nick Gadd that Gordon Milne died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. A full announcement is to be placed in the Daily Telegraph tomorrow. I will send condolences from the Association directly to Gordon's wife Judy.

Grant Grafton
Sec
23rd April 2018 at 8:55 pm
PersonKate Brophy

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:111 Characters
Also, having read Tooleys post again - he is absolutely spot on - and his era are the future! Well said Tooley.
23rd April 2018 at 8:49 pm
PersonKate Brophy

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1443 Characters
Hello all,

I only joined the FCA last year having commissioned shortly prior, but had been a Weapons Controller for 14 years prior and now ABM (I dearly wanted to be part of the RAFFCA as an airmen, for what its worth). I do believe we need to be inclusive, primarily because of Grahams comments below and how the branch is expanding.
However, I can sense the clear (and understandable) unease from our 'wiser' brethren, many of whom I was lucky and privileged enough to meet during Air Cdre Millingtons funeral. That day, for me, was the turning point for joining the FCA - having a few drinks with members who have a common topic to talk about, sharing stories, chewing the fat of how things could be better and discussing some amazing heritage. The younger (now) Air Ops operators are a bright bunch and full of talent. We should be actively encouraging them to join - you may be surprised at how much many of them know about the branches history. Is there any plans to perhaps do some sort of roadshow and explain what the FCA is all about? I know Costi, Graham and Dave were advertising via work IT means, but perhaps a mix of members selling its benefits? The idea of a survey that someone mentioned below may provide some steering and paths not already thought of across the entire (new) branch beforehand.

Back to the key point however - I believe we need to embrace change, not be scared of it, or run away from it.

Kate
21st April 2018 at 11:46 pm
PersonJoseph Redhead

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2818 Characters
Hello All. An interesting debate as I'm sure we have all come to expect, especially on a subject of such importance to the future of our association. It is nice to get a vote on pending changes; unlike the RAF who have, without consulting me, changed the name of my branch 3 times now! I am currently serving as OC Initial Trg Sqn at the School, so have daily contact with the future of our branch/specialisation, albeit I wouldn't claim to understand the thoughts of those in their late teens/early twenties. Of course recruitment of those so early in their careers has always been a challenge and I don't expect this will change, regardless of the name of the association. It is an unfortunate fact that the youth of each generation doesn't realise the benefits of membership until later in their careers; indeed I have peers who still resist joining (and drinking real ale). However I do believe an appropriately inclusive name will be vital going forward, otherwise individuals are likely to be put off by the title of any brief or communication (remembering that these are people who live within the Twitter 140 character limit). This will not stop us from singing 'The Flag' or lazily calling ourselves the FCA; in NATO circles I sometimes still call myself an FC for ease, whilst on other occasions ABM seems more appropriate, however I have yet to call my an AO(S).

Personally I am not yet fully sold on the Air Ops branch as there is still much work to be done regarding the accessibility of the wider career opportunities to the majority, when core roles still require manning; nor is the training pipeline confirmed (the Combined Air Ops Module will start in 2019, but then extant courses will take trainees on their journey to CQ (or whatever the equivalent in Flt Ops is)). However, I do not believe this is a reason to exclude those who wish to join the association. The binding element is of course the shared experiences of nights on Q in a bunker, the remote mountain site tours/dets, or a period of time spent in a converted ISO container in a desert with poor aircon and managing to produce a RAP or give aircraft directions. All of these are currently being experienced by those we formally called Airtrafficers, and indeed we have our brethren (Control and Surveillance) in their citadels of Shawbury and Swanwick. There is also the practical matter of defining eligibility going forward, it is hardly practical to request a Form A to prove an IC/WC/IDRO/IDO CQ on application. If there are individuals who share our common lineage (even if only by 'marriage' into the branch) and have an interest in joining our association, then I believe we should welcome them, regardless of what SAMA/JPA or the Air Force List says/said they are/were! Joe
17th April 2018 at 1:20 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Where Are They Now?
Topic: Chris Franklin   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:307 Characters
Does anyone know how to contact Chris Franklin? Neither of the telephone numbers I have listed for him are valid and his email is giving me a 'bounce'. The last address we have for him is St Peter Port, Guernsey. Any information allowing me to get back in touch gratefully received.

Grant
Sec
15th April 2018 at 12:06 am
PersonGlen Daniel Parker

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2290 Characters
Hello all. Well that's a lot to read, how to reply... I think i'll try a less wordy, less intelligent, less flamboyant approach; mainly because it's getting late and I keep forgetting to wade into this debate.

While I sympathise with the argument of the "old and bold", I am a little surprised that it is largely the current serving members supporting the case for change. I'm confident we all value our heritage dearly but like all things, we must evolve in order to survive. When I joined the FCA I did so because I was keen to socialise with, and learn from, those FCs much further down our well trodden path. Sociable as it may be, I was not aware I was joining an old boys drinking club. I can not speak for all serving members, but I can say that those I have spoken to are strongly in favour of opening up our wonderful association to incorporate the new Air Ops cadre. Only by doing this will we be able to continue to share our experiences throughout the generations. Fighter Control is dead, and ABM reflected far better the multi-faceted branch we have become, and multi-skilled personnel we have. The Air Ops era is going to take that flexible approach even further. An association that reflects the new era is therefore, in my view, essential. I have no doubt that if the FCA membership does not embrace this opportunity a separate Air Ops Association will be formed and the FCA as we know will almost certainly have seen its last new member from serving community. For me this would be a real shame; I don't think two associations is better than one; it would be a shame to lose the interaction amongst the different generations; and I would hate to see the FCA wither and die. I believe the Air Ops membership will embrace our history as strongly as we have, and they will create their own history in time. Indeed, little of the conflict in the Middle East over the past 20 years or so can be associated to Fighter Control, it has been ABM/Air Ops in its purest form. The branch has evolved, the people, the technologies, the equipment, the doctrine, have all evolved. The FCA must now evolve. Let's not hide behind the technicalities of our constitution; it's our constitution, we wrote it, we can can rewrite it. Viva Air Ops.
12th April 2018 at 7:19 pm
PersonPaul Northcott

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:57 Characters
In reply to James O’Toole’s post.

What he said over
12th April 2018 at 6:07 pm
PersonJames OToole

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3419 Characters
As one of the 'younger generation' (CQ'd as a Weapons Controller) just over 3 years ago, it is interesting to see this debate from the viewpoint of those with significantly more experience (and wisdom!) than I. I do not profess to speak for my peers (who I will be encouraging to engage in this debate as well) but will add my personal perspective for what it's worth.

First and foremost it is absolutely vital that the rich history of the branch be kept alive. The key danger to this would be membership numbers dwindling to the point of 'extinction', in the words of Graham. I have not noticed any upwards trend in new ABMs/Air Ops Officers joining the FCA, or talking about it. I believe this may be down to a perception of the Association being primarily a vehicle for legacy Officers to keep in touch - a form of 'Old Boys Club'. Whether this is due to the legacy term Fighter Controller being front and centre I am unsure. Although I will admit we current Weapons Controllers are somewhat envious of that title!

Regardless, the tasks which the branch has carried out have changed significantly over history. We moved from the Dowding System to the very involved Close/Alpha control of the Cold War where Fighter Control was an entirely appropriate term for the type of task conducted. With advances in AI radar and related technology, the 'control' aspect of the WC task has become more blurred, putting more primacy on situational awareness building and deconfliction of airspace - hence the less attractive but accurate term Battlespace Management. As Andrew has stated, this has been the branch's core business on Ops for the last 17 years. I should say at this stage also that the Surveillance and Space tasks have grown in importance, to the extent, I would argue, where they are more valuable to the RAF than control. I am one of those who has sat alongside ATCOs in an overseas CRC controlling the airspace together. Our roles had significant overlaps and it seems only natural that we merge in the AOB. Indeed I have heard little dissent from my peers about the principle of the merge, only the proposed method of execution. With this in mind, it seems to me that this is just the next stage in the evolution of the branch. With future advances in technology, especially datalinks and automative processes, I can foresee a situation where the original core skills of the branch are abandoned altogether in favour of managing these systems. The passage of time will eventually render control as we know it to the annals of history altogether. Therefore I see no reason why the addition of ATC and Flight Ops to the FCA should be blocked, as those with a shared future should be able to celebrate each other's past. If we maintain an institutional tribalism, I worry that future Officers with no reason to be tribal (having been trained to cover a plethora of these roles) would shun the FCA, ultimately leading to the loss of our history.

In sum, I believe the inevitable cultural change in terms of perspective that will be witnessed in future Air Ops Officers will turn them off from an association (perceived to be) devoted entirely to a dwindling skill set. This will risk losing our history altogether. By being inclusive we can safeguard against this loss and ensure further chapters are added to the branch's history books as well.
12th April 2018 at 1:31 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:246 Characters
Northy - Having already said quite enough, I am taking a self-imposed break from commenting further on the main matter at hand, but may I just say that your first sentence below clearly indicates what a sage and sensible individual you grew into!
12th April 2018 at 11:53 am
PersonPaul Northcott

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1537 Characters
Whilst I would normally steer clear of discussions such as this and have made it a lifelong policy never to disagree with Mike Good (one of the reasons for a long and happy life). I am going to break ranks on this occasion. I really do not care what the association is called. To me, it is about "association". Getting together with old colleagues to thank god that there was no internet during our evenings in the mess and to thank them for putting up with me while I was prepubescent. I have to say that every time I speak to the young ABM/Air Operations people I am always impressed by their professionalism and pride in what they are doing and it reminds me of the fierce pride that I and my friends, and I am sure all of you, felt about being Fighter Controllers. Of course they want different things to us, we wanted different things to our forebears but they are still "one of us" and unless we set about alienating them they will look back on the history of the branch (of whatever name) with the same pride.

If you call it the Air Ops Association it won't change the people that are within it, the history that comes with it and the future that is before it and I for one will continue to enjoy the association with all those serving or retired. Indeed I look forward to hearing about the first tales of Lightnings combat in the same way that I enjoyed to talking to the old spitfire pilots in Boulmer mess.

Right once I hit post the only thing left to say will be "tin hats everybody"
12th April 2018 at 10:19 am
PersonDavid Metcalfe

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1890 Characters
I’m a late addition to the FCA, I joined mid 2017 after already serving 7yrs as ABM. For myself and ever since I took my commission I have always identified as / called myself an ABM, never a fighter controller. Perhaps that what has put me off joining the association in the past, as well as some of the reasons already given by Graham below. Nonetheless, after speaking with serving colleagues I took the opportunity to join and I look forward to meeting other members soon; I was hoping to at the last Christmas function however, work/home life took priority.
It’s been quite an interesting read of all the posts below regarding the future of the FCA. It appears that the “old & bold” (not meant to be derogatory but the phrase has been used a lot already) members that have already commented, require further information of the new AOB in order to make a more informed decision to the questions posed by the Chair. In addition to the information given by Sean, Graham and Andy below, perhaps a presentation is given on what the AOB is all about at the next EGM/AGM? (Forgive me if this has already happened).
My view is that I would support a change to include all elements of AOB. I champion the change that has occurred to form the AOB, I feel we needed to adapt and remain relevant especially when undertaking so many varied tasks outside of the typical ‘CRC’ roles and I would like an association that supports us. Should this not happen and an alternative AOB Association be formed then I would be more inclined to move memberships in order to identify with other members that have worked in similar AD environments (Flt Ops/ATC/ABM). Overall I would like to be a member of an Association that encompasses and champions the history, the present and the future of the air defence cadre (now AOB which obviously includes legacy FC/ABM) for future members.
12th April 2018 at 12:26 am
PersonGraham Crow

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2541 Characters
As the Serving Member on the committee I need to pass on the view of those officers in the Association (more of whom should be joining this debate in the near future) and also of those who are not yet part of our membership; and from where I sit amidst the main ‘hub’ of serving officers at Boulmer, it’s not an encouraging picture.

The overwhelming feedback that I get when discussing the Association is that ‘our’ current junior officer cadre often don’t appreciate the extent of our heritage and can’t identify with the ‘Fighter Control’ label, viewing this (rightly or wrongly) as a legacy term that described a point in history when we were holed up in bunkers in the Cold War. For them, intercepting the occasional LRA pales into comparison with the far more challenging and rewarding environment of the Middle Eastern theatres where personnel of all Air Ops specialisations have been working closely together for many years, interchangeably in many cases, to achieve the mission - often not related to traditional Air Defence in any way.

Some of you will have seen the front-line update in the last newsletter; the Space empire is expanding, the role of data links becomes ever more important, and future basing decisions/unit moves will force closer integration of Air Ops disciplines. If we retain a view that only certain niche roles attract membership eligibility, rather than all Air Ops officers, then we become even less relevant to the serving officers of tomorrow who will have come to those roles from a range of backgrounds. In short, we become elitist, the criteria becomes divisive, and we actually hurt the new Branch that we are seeking to support whether we mean to or not. It’s entirely possible that during GUARDIAN transition we could decide to provide training to RAF(U) Swanwick ATM controllers to allow them to hold a greater role in our Air Defence mission than they currently do. They wouldn’t necessarily get a WC CQ, but they could be doing a very similar job to the WC sitting next to them - and become another small part of our rich heritage. We need to be inclusive.

This is the time to embrace the opportunity to re-connect with the serving community that is undergoing a huge amount of change and feels alienated from the Association that seeks to support it. The Branch has undergone many alterations in the past but they have often been little more than brand changes. This is the big one: if we don’t evolve in time, it will be the Association’s extinction event.
11th April 2018 at 3:37 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: AGM 2018   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:280 Characters
Hi Richard,

We are experiencing some issues with the email system (not Grant's fault I can assure you), I have posted the details on the notifications area and in the events area on the website. More information will be published in due course.

Regards

Costi

Web Manager
11th April 2018 at 2:58 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:93 Characters
Andy (Duffus), thank you for a very interesting perspective on what the AOB is about. Richard
11th April 2018 at 9:07 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: General Discussions
Topic: AGM 2018   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:81 Characters
Any news please on this year's AGM - I think some time in June was the idea?
7th April 2018 at 7:31 pm
PersonAndrew Duffus

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:5203 Characters
Ladies/Gents,

At almost 58 and still in full time reserve service at HQ Air, I find myself able to relate to both the retired community who are my peer group, and the serving community with whom I currently work. None of the latter appear to be getting themselves into this discussion. This is making commentary rather asymmetric, which is a shame, so let me give an in-service view to add to the lone voice of our erstwhile Chair – albeit through the prism of an old codger, rather than young thruster! I will make some points about the new branch from my own personal perspective (I have been involved with the Air Ops change programme in my role as SO1 Manpower Structures) and then offer my own thoughts on the FCA/Air Ops Association merger proposal.

Part One – The Air Ops Branch

The advent of an Air Operations Branch has in no way killed off Fighter Control or Aerospace Battle Management as you knew it! Weapons Control, Surveillance and Space activity continue unabated, and we still train all 3 discrete capabilities within the new branch construct.

As a former GD(G)FC officer who has lived through several renaming events (Air Ops now brings it to 6!), I feel no different as a newly branded Air Ops officer than I did transitioning to any of the other new names and I feel absolutely no loss of identity. Whilst I do not work with the younger ABM community, I do work closely with ABM staff officers and not one has indicated any concern about the change (nor have any ATC or Flt Ops officers) – they may just have been being polite to an aging wing commander, but my sense is enthusiasm not scepticism!!

I am more excited by the opportunities this change presents than any previous iterations for a number of reasons: it widens career development opportunity for our control and systems officers; it gives the branch greater influence as it is now one of the largest of the functional branches (and as the single-seat Fast Air community beds in, this will only increase Air Ops opportunity to break the OF6 glass ceiling as Fast Air numbers dwindle and cultural change must come about); and it allows the RAF greater flexibility to employ control and systems officers to best effect in the support of air operations – whatever they are and wherever they may be. Enduring under-manning makes this last point nothing short of mission critical!

There is no great concern in my mind that former ATC and Flt Ops officers will have no interest accommodating and respecting existing FCA members, or wanting to be part of the air defence heritage you bring. Indeed, I think they will welcome the opportunity to bask in the reflected glory that comes from the direct link, through the Cold War warriors, to our Battle of Britain forebears.

Some of you who have been retired for a while may not be aware that throughout operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ATC and WC officers have shared and interchanged tactical control duties, and Flt Ops and Surveillance have also shared roles that historically would have been the preserve of the FC/ABM community. So the existing Air Ops officers, whether they have an ATC, Flt Ops or ABM pedigree, all work in the tactical battlespace (well I don’t but the youngsters do!).

Part Two – To Merge or Not to Merge?

So what does all this mean? Well, as a serving member of the Air Ops branch I am very keen to preserve the work done by the FCA in creating a viable association, to keep the direct links with our air defence past which can be the cornerstone of our future air (and space) command and control roles. Yes, the Air Operations branch can start out on their own (and I think will if forced to), but far better to grow together from tangible foundations.

I note the comment that Army Regimental associations would ‘stag on’ alone after amalgamations; but we are not the Army, and RAF sqns/units, and even branches, come and go (witness TG7, which was the marine branch trade and is now home to our SNCO controllers). To allow the FCA to sail off on its own course is to make it moribund and, given the small number of young members involved, soon to die out, which would be tragic. Surely, we are stronger together? Surely, all those commentators (whom I have held in high regard this last 38 years of my service) can continue to be the forward thinking, horizon scanning, ‘CanCo’/’WillCo’ types that embody the FC/ABM world I grew up in and who would want to have a direct link to the future as well as the past?

Amalgamation with a new Air Operations Association would not create any seismic shift in the landscape. We all know that, generally, it is the older/retired types who tend to join associations and as such the transition from FCA to Air Ops Association would, I believe, be slow and measured.

For me, I wish to look forward to a bright future taking all of the wonderful heritage the FCA offers with me. I will vote for amalgamating the FCA with whatever association emerges from the Air Operations branch.

Please do not let us end up with 2 separate associations – if for no other reason than I am an Aberdonian and it would pain me greatly to have to pay 2 annual membership fees!!!!

6th April 2018 at 8:35 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2435 Characters
Thanks to all those who have contributed this far - I am away on a course next week so will not have access to the Forum as I can't access this site from MoDNet.

A common thread seems to be running that we can afford to have a cup of tea and think about this for a bit longer. Of course we can. I urge those holding that view to heed my earnest warning that, to wait too long to show that you are willing to consider adapting to accept what Fighter Control has already become and thus welcome the current cohort of highly credible practitioners into our midst, and they will just set up their own association (which I think will be a real shame).

Whist the Air Operations Branch stood up on 1 April 2018 - it has been functioning fully as such in all but name for at least the past year. The serving officers are already impatient and I was approached for copies of our Constitution and other chattels some time ago. Indeed, the serving members are by and large already comfortable in their new Branch and identify with it, so once they go down the route of a new association, you will have lost your chance to win them back. I have said on a number of times that I believe change is necessary but that I will support whatever decision the membership decide but please, be under no illusion, a decision one way or the other is needed and needed soon.

Voting for the status quo, or doing nothing, or thinking about this for a bit longer without giving an indication to the Serving membership that a case to include the Air Ops Branch is being actively considered, will all have the same outcome - you will be accepting a defacto status quo ante; as long as we recognize that then I can be reassured that I have played my part as Chairman to bring all the information to the table. If there is any specific information needed on the AOB (noting I can't publish the new AOB training syllabus) then please let me know and I will see if I can source it.

Moving forward, I would hope to have a final wording to put to an initial ballot of whether 'change' is worth pursuing or not to the Membership by the end of the month. Any suggestions on how that might be framed would be most welcome. Where we go from there, will clearly depend of the final question wording (agreed by the Committee) and the result of the ballot. Hopefully, we could have that all complete before the AGM.

All the best
@Sean
5th April 2018 at 7:31 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2980 Characters
Going on from my last post, I would like to support Richard in his. I agree that some people have already made up their minds (both for and against change) and, if there were to be a need to vote on @Sean's original proposal tomorrow, then I would be against it. Nevertheless, like you, Richard, I feel the Association's membership hasn't been given enough information so far. I feel that it won't hurt the Association - or the potential future members - to wait and see how things pan out in the new branch.

Yes, it is highly desirable to maintain the link to the RAF and - specifically - to the operational area with which we (the Association's current members) have an affinity. That, though, is the difficulty with which we have to grapple if we are to resolve the problem @Sean has set for us. There will be, without doubt, operational areas covered by members of the AOB that will not have any bearing on the raison d'être of the Association as we know it. Do we include those areas within the criteria used for eligibility so as not to distinguish between one member of the AOB and another, or do we find a way of identifying those who meet criteria based on a particular part of the operational spectrum and thereby exclude others? What happens if, in the RAF's next iterative process, all branches are dissolved and anyone could do anything (with the right training, of course, as I understand will happen within the AOB)? I know that's an extreme case, but 10 years ago we wouldn't have thought we would have to ponder the question in front of us today!

My final point (for the time being) has to do with presentation. I am, firstly, immensely impressed with the layout, functionality and cleanliness of the new website. Nevertheless, it is private, totally private, and that gives the wrong impression to others seeking to have a look at the purpose and meaning of the Association. Two years ago, it was possible for a non-member to read messages that were open to the public ... and contribute or ask questions if that was that person's wish. No more. While I fully understand the complexity of adding structure and code to the website and the time it takes to do so, the policy of not permitting the pages about our heritage to be seen by the public (as they were on the old site, an archive of which is at www.raffca.uk) needs to be re-addressed. If those pages were made more accessible to current AOB officers (those who were ABMs in March!), it might help explain to them why the Association has restricted its membership in the past.

[Edited to include the following (previous post copied, pasted and deleted!)] Just in case there is any misunderstanding, I do not intend to criticise - in the slightest - the web manager in the preceding paragraph. Policy for the website is for the whole Committee to decide, I believe, just as it was when I was both Sec and web manager.
5th April 2018 at 3:01 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1737 Characters
I totally agree with those who do not understand an urgent need to resolve this issue. On the other hand, I do believe the question of future membership of our association does need to be resolved and a timetable and process to settle this needs to be put forward. Key in this I think will be a greater understanding among the FCA members (who will decide this matter) of what the AOB will be all about and whether we may have a shared ethos. Some people have made-up their minds about this but I haven't as I don't know enough about it hence my request for more information. I can see though totally where Sean is coming from in the sense that it will be 'an all or nothing' - I'm sure I'd feel the same way if I held a senior position in the new branch. There are 2 other points I'd like to make before I retire from this debate for the time being. The first is that there seems to be a strong desire in some quarters to preserve and promote our legacy (whatever that means). I would have thought that the best way to do this would be to engage with the current RAF - who else is likely to care? Secondly, while the FCA is independent of the RAF and membership eligibility is totally a matter for the membership, I for one would be very sorry to lose contact or links with the Service. While I have no practical need for this information, I'm really interested to see how air battle management is evolving. So I'd like to see an FCA where old comrades have a drink together but they also engage with the current generation and the evolving management of air operations which I believe to be our true legacy - the application of technology and organization to the employment of air power.
5th April 2018 at 1:52 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2155 Characters
Both Alec and Tim have posted in a vein that receives my whole-hearted support, so I won't repeat their words. I will, though, reply to @Sean's response to me in his earlier post.

I appreciate that the Committee might well have had a number of discussions on this topic over the months and years and that the topic has been raised in the forum of an AGM in the past, although those who were there seem to feel no great emphasis was made of an urgent need to provide an 'end result', nor does there seem to have been a great deal of time set aside for discussion of the matter. The urgency now seems to be in the words you are using to put across your point, @Sean; no sooner are you writing that there doesn't need to be a deadline of 1 April (how fortunate is that, when the date is now passed?!!), than you are writing that we only have one shot at getting things right! That sort of urgency worries me ... a lot!

The Association does not belong to the RAF. Yes, it once did, in that its Committee was made up (according to the Rules at the time) of specific serving officers in specific MOD posts. Over time, though, things have changed and it was a recent amendment to the Rules that cut the ties that had been in place courtesy of the Vice-Chair of the Committee. We no longer have any ties in our governance, the ex-officio membership awarded to the officer filling the role of BM Force Commander (whether or not eligible for membership) not providing for such. So, whatever the RAF is doing with its branch structure, it has no part to play in the constitutional arrangements of our Association.

I am also somewhat perturbed by the implied 'threat' of all the perceived changes within the RAF. I thought George Osborne was bad enough with the scare tactics he (and David Cameron) used prior to the EU referendum in 2016, but those used in your post make me think you are seeking a similar result. To add that you could not be part of an association that is selective in its eligibility criteria (my words, not yours) is somewhat disingenuous, bearing in mind that that is what we've been doing since 1990!
5th April 2018 at 12:54 pm
PersonTimothy Willbond

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2383 Characters
I have laid out my thoughts on the way forward in previous posts. There is clearly a very genuine feeling amongst those promoting the new mandate within the serving community that aligning the association with the new branch is the only way forward.

From my perspective and trying to look at the situation dispassionately, I cannot help but feel that there is an artificial pressure being applied for change using arguments that are not entirely rooted and from which there can be no return.

I know that for many our heritage is a side issue but for me it is central to what we are as an association and to encapsulating what we achieved as the 'Fighter Control Branch" ( please note the bracketing commas; as an aside however a quick look at the original offer to join the RAF and for a General List commission both stated the branch was the General Duties (Ground) Fighter Control Branch). For me there is a very real risk that our heritage - which is still emerging - will very quickly return to the darker recesses of the RAF's wider history if there is no organisation to champion the cause.

There is also a very real risk that who we are, our ethos and why we came together to form the Fighter Control Association will get lost very quickly in an AOB association and for me that matters.

One of the memories from Staff College days was a lecturer who said every argument will be circular unless it is grounded. For me the grounding is quite simple: do we change our mandate to become an AOB association and accept all that entails for our association as it stands or remain, for as long as is practicable, an association for RAF Fighter Control Officers ( for the avoidance of doubt any officer who served in a recognised role in the C&R, ADGE or ASACS military disciplines)?

Perhaps we need to take the wise counsel to have a cup of tea. This would give us time to understand the full implications of the reality behind the changes the new branch will bring and look at all options including possible avenues to extend our longevity whilst retaining our core raison d'être. It may be that the reasoned case that emerges points to an alignment with the AOB but I believe the decision is so fundamental that it deserves to be made without artificial pressures being applied and real and balanced pros and cons being assessed.


5th April 2018 at 8:46 am
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3734 Characters
Apologies for not contributing for a while but I have just started a new job, adapting to the new culture, understanding the way things work and generally exploring the new styles of doing the same thing I have been doing for the last 16 years since leaving the RAF. There is something exciting about a new challenge, exploring new ideas and sharing one’s experience and knowledge with others you have had little interaction with to date. Each time I have changed roles/Companies I have come across people amazed by the fact that I come from the RAF, been in defence, consulting and insurance industries. When sharing my past, it is often the RAF bit that attracts questions and in my last role as an interim, they admitted at the end of my “tour” they thought I was a former spy because of the rich heritage of our Branch etc! Hilarious.

Of course, there is a point to my ramblings above. I meet new people in my civvy profession all the time and in my later roles, the younger generation all look to me for how I am going to help them succeed by giving them new experiences and the benefit of my own knowledge and experience much in the same way Colin Nash and Ian Fish did for me. At the same time, I am mindful that I have to keep an open mind to new ideas and approaches from those in my charge or to just re-assure them them that they should have the courage to carry through on their (often not so) new idea. In my head, I am still the same risk manager helping to protect my (new) company as I was when working on the Skynet programme in 2004 but in fact my profession has moved on leaps and bounds and the younger generation want to make an impact on their careers as I did. My role is to help them succeed to a good outcome even if I do not fully understand the “how”.

I note the discussion regarding the constitution, our objectives etc but these are just words on a piece of paper put together to give us structure and shape at a point in time. I do not believe the Constitution and objectives were meant to be a strait jacket or the lining of our own coffins. The environment has changed, the people have changed and the membership can seek a change to the constitution if it is no longer fit for purpose. The question for me, therefore is what should the purpose of the Association be? Is it a club for old comrades to meet and reminisce or is it an Association where serving members can also turn to in the future and be made to feel welcome? I believe we have a duty, as noted in our objectives, to support our successors and as Sean points out, our successors live in very different and much broader times than Fighter Controllers did. I have no issue with broader membership and supporting the future generations just in the same way I have no issue with promoting our rich heritage or sharing stories with former friends and colleagues.

The fact is, adapting to change is a necessity if success is to follow. I am with Sean on this proposal and I believe adapting to wider membership can actually protect our heritage; it can give the serving personnel a sense of pride in the longevity of its ancestral roots and further, can help them to look forward. For those of us of the older branch titles, it means we can hand the baton on to the next tranch but it in no way diminishes our history and in no way stops us from meeting former comrades. If we maintain the status quo then any new Association set up by current serving personnel will trace themselves back to 2018 - if we adapt the current association those same people can trace themselves back to the Battle of Britain and instantly have an identifying purpose and understanding of their own importance. I vote for change.


4th April 2018 at 11:03 pm
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2165 Characters
Dear Colleagues
An interesting debate and it is not difficult to see that a number of souls (both retired and still serving), for whom I have the greatest respect, are justifiably 'tortured' by the dilemmas posed.
The explorer (and ex SAS officer) Blashford-Snell often said that when faced with difficult decisions in the wilderness one should first 'sit and have a cup of tea'. Put simply, I don't think we should rush into changing the name and basic affiliation of our association just yet. Our colleagues who are still serving must adapt to the changing service environment and continually 'move on' - that is right and proper. From GD Ground, to ABM and now Air Ops - who knows, however, how long (or how soon) it will be until the next 'big change' hoves into view. For what it is worth, I therefore strongly agree with those who say that we should take the long view and not rush into a radical change for our Association at this particular turning point. We should nurture the tradition and history of those who went before us and I feel sure that those who serve now, and in the future would be glad that we did not trade those traditions away on the wave of each reorganisation, however tempting it might appear at the time.
Just in case those who know me may be confused into thinking that I have, at last, had an original thought - it is not, of course... ..Petroneus: "We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized..... I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend .... to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.")

(On an even lighter note, I also remember the heated debate on potential membership criteria at the inaugural meeting of what was to become the FCA which was concluded, in his inimitable way, by one Robin Van Geene, who said rather loudly "If we carry on like this our second meeting will be held in a phone box!").

AT
4th April 2018 at 9:53 pm
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Happy Birthday Royal Air Force....   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:28 Characters
https://youtu.be/aQQEp0-Kay0
4th April 2018 at 9:36 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3131 Characters
Dear all;

please accept my apologies for the all to brief reply - I am most definitely not trying to be curt when you have all invested a lot to this thread; but I am glad that Audience has widened. I can only hope now that some of the serving members of the Air ops Branch will join the debate - I'll chivy them up again. tomorrow.

3 points directly to answer:
- one why is there no publicly available information on the Air Operations branch on the Recruiting and Selection Website? - I answered this in my first reply but 'someone' in HR policy said we could not recruit into a branch that did not exist nor advertise it .... it frustrated everyone I can assure you! There is an RAF Briefing note out on the Air Operations Branch and I had hoped to find a way of getting it available on the website - I'll continue to try and find away.
- second point mainly to answer Jan's point on timing and rush - we have been aware of change and taking of the likely effect on the Association for literally years; the upshot of this is that the 'youth' in the ABM now Air Ops Branch don't associate what they do with the term 'fighter control' as such they are not joining the association until they see it reflects their aspirations to belong to something meaningful. I think that we could give them that sense of belonging and expose them to the rich history and esprit de corps without denuding our Common Purpose or raison d'etre . In fact I think our proposition should be to give a spark of 'specialness' and a sense of belonging to those who have the same skill set and competence as we did (have) - that would truly be our legacy - they are not too different from us - but they do need guiding ... But the more we wait the more we will become irrelevant and they will just go their own way and the opportunity to grow this Association and give it long term future will be lost. The clock genuinely is ticking and we will only get one shot at this.
3. Inviting some members of the Branch who have performed a sub-task reminiscent of what we did in the '80s is frankly a non-starter. Yes there are still CRCs but the job the controllers and systems officers do is 1 part traditional Air Defence and 10 parts Air Command and Control and Battle Management. The next generation of capability is literally arriving in months - voice control is rapidly being replaced - the 'ADGE' type sensors can no longer do what a 5th Generation Fast Jet requires for digital control and I suspect the E3D's days are numbered. More importantly allowing some in the new branch to join the Association and not others is divisive and runs counter to the transformative nature of what the Service and Defence is trying to do with its work force. To be absolutely clear, as a Serving Officer I can not be part of an association that invites some from the Air Ops Branch to join its membership but excludes others as it would be utterly disloyal to the Service.

that's all for now - lets hope some serving members put forward their views.

@Sean
4th April 2018 at 7:13 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: The Air Defence Radar Museum - Neatishead   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1338 Characters
With the 100th anniversary of the RAF as a trigger, the ADRM at Neatishead has recently been the subject of an article in the Eastern Daily Press (EDP). You can access the article by following this link: http://www.edp24.co.uk/features/royal-air-force-centenary-1-5452808.

I can personally recommend a visit to the ADRM. This former operational RAF building now houses possibly the most comprehensive history of our branch, starting from those early days of the Dowding System and "mad Ludo", to the way things were at the end of the last century. Additional exhibits, keyed to Air Defence, are cockpits of a Victor and Tornado. There is also an area dedicated to RAF Coltishall and operation of, for example, the Lightning. A group of volunteer 'guides' are always on hand to explain the finer details of the exhibits. Full details about the ADRM can be found here: http://www.radarmuseum.co.uk/

The ADRM is a registered charity and entirely dependent on public donations and grants if it is to continue running. Clearly publicity through the EDP and other newspapers does help with this, but if the organisation is to thrive and expand, constant help is needed. Joining the ADRM as a 'Friend', at the cost of £15 per annum, is a great way of demonstrating this support.

Grant

Secretary





3rd April 2018 at 12:54 pm
PersonPatrick Mclintic

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:504 Characters
Fascinating to enter this debate at a late stage. I have not been privy to any of the discussions relating to the creation of the AOB but I have to agree with Mike Good's observation below. Having been chief examiner of MCs my experience was that those with both surveillance and weapons backgrounds were the easiest to train/examine. When time is short and faced with difficult decisions phronesis (the practical application of wisdom based on knowledge and experience) is an invaluable commodity.
3rd April 2018 at 12:41 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:372 Characters
Thank you, Mike, for posing the question that also would have come out of the ‘logic’ I tried to use in my post below. It also begs the question why the Association didn’t in earlier years update the eligibility criteria to include E3-D operations, although I think there has been for a while a de facto acceptance without the change actually appearing in the Rules.
3rd April 2018 at 12:34 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:511 Characters
In passing, I was interested to read that, in the new AOB:-
-
"There is no reason why a Sqn Ldr should not be appointed to an MC position without ever having served at a CRC"
-
I can think of at least one. Look up the Wikipedia entry on the "Battle of Barking Creek" to see what can happen if you put an officer, albeit from the correct branch, without previous experience in such a position!
-
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana.
3rd April 2018 at 12:02 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1115 Characters
Up to this point, the emphasis has been on convincing us that the FC/ABM is dead, vis:-
-
"It is more than the merger of 3 branches - it is a new branch and not a branch within which the 3 previous entities survive"..."From 1st April there will no longer be an ATC, ABM and Flt Ops Branch, nor will there be the current sub-specialisations"....and, perhaps most tellingly, "The corpus of identity of a FC/ABM Branch will be consigned to the past".
-
However, I take Richard's point in his first post of 2 Apr below. Perhaps if we knew more about the "carousel of modules" that AO officers will undertake after their initial 4-week, theory only, Combined Air Ops Module (CAOM) - and subsequently between tours - we would have a better idea if passing some or any of these qualified certain AO officers to join us. Clearly, just passing the CAOM would not do! So can anybody enlighten us as to what the modules are called? What would passing each module licence an individual to do? Will there be a "CQ", or equivalent, attached to each? etc.... Sean?
2nd April 2018 at 8:39 pm
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Happy Birthday Royal Air Force....   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:588 Characters
Hi Mike - good to hear from you. Yes - that's the Station Officers Mess. The families day crowd was watching from the sports ground which was the aiming point.
Revisiting the place reminded me of the graduation morning when a couple of my fellow 'Blue Squadron' graduating cadets had paid a late-night visit to the loft of the Cadets Mess with industrial quantities of blue food dye. Everyone brushed their teeth in 'blue' water that day :-)

Will bring the chippie down to Dunkeswell when the weather gets better and have that 'catch up' chat.

Alec
2nd April 2018 at 8:13 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Happy Birthday Royal Air Force....   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:265 Characters
Nice one Alec! That's the Station Officers Mess in the picture isn't it? Stalag Luft Cadets Mess was a about a hundred yards down the road if I recall. Let us know if you're ever heading for Dunkeswell and we'll come over and say hello. Mike
2nd April 2018 at 7:25 pm
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Happy Birthday Royal Air Force....   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:390 Characters
Thanks Grant - mine was 274 (Blue) Sqn - as you say - lots of nostalgia to be overnighting there again after all these years. We had 2 'practice' days which were washed out through weather - so the "100" formation fly-through was both the practice and the flypast itself!

Do you happen to know if is possible to post a photo on here rather than just a dropbox link?

AT
2nd April 2018 at 3:44 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:544 Characters
To add to Richard's point about Rule 2, I would like to remind others of the amendment that was made to the Constitution 5 years ago, at the 2013 AGM. Significantly, the Committee at the time discussed the need to reappraise the objectives of the Association, previously split between short, medium and long term. In addition, though, the Committee chose to add a definition under Article 2, hoping it would - in an ever-changing world - assist in maintaining the link with the Association's name and its original raison d'être.
2nd April 2018 at 2:00 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1191 Characters
After a bit of digging, I've read the Rules issued under article 19 of the Constitution and rule 2 somewhat modifies eligibility criteria and includes, for example, ABMs. Reading article 19 it would appear that the rules need to be re-ratified at AGMs but can be done on a straight majority rather than the 3/4 majority required to alter the Constitution. Whether this is a totally legitimate work around is perhaps questionable but based on precedence, eligibility criteria could be altered again through a Rule change rather than a Constitution change. Perhaps food for thought on process? Here is rule 2:

Rule 2. Full Membership. An officer shall be eligible for Full Membership of the
Association when:
a. He/she is commissioned into and has served in the General Duties (Ground)
Fighter Control, Operations Support (Fighter Control) or Operations Support
(Aerospace Battle Manager) Specialisation or Aerospace Battle Manager Branch
of the Royal Air Force and has been awarded a recognised fighter control
qualification or,
b. He/she has served in the Royal Air Force as a Radar Supervisor, Fighter
Director or GCI Controller prior to the formation of the Fighter Control Branch.
2nd April 2018 at 1:39 pm
PersonJan Cobb

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2642 Characters
Having only just come back to the Association and a little late to the party (if the original call for a 1 April vote were to have been acted upon), I’m somewhat bewildered by the haste with which the Chairman wished to implement his proposals. I am also, like others it would appear, bewildered by the very proposals themselves ... and I wonder whether we know all there is to know about the structural and career changes that the RAF Board has made to the branches once known as Aerospace Battle Management, Air Traffic Management and Flight Operations.

That said, the little we know about the restructuring of the branches has more to do with the potential career paths of officers in the new Air Operations Branch (AOB) than it does with the various tasks that must be carried out by those officers and the lack of information about those tasks. Are we really to believe that ‘Air Defence’ and ‘Air Policing’ operations will no longer exist? The fact that those operations will be prosecuted by members of a larger pool of officers is actually of no real consequence when the same officers will still require qualifications similar to those in existence until 31 March.

A lot of the discussion appears to be predicated on the acceptance (or not) of ALL other ‘specialisations’ that make up the AOB as eligible for membership of the Association. Why? Surely, as the current Rules state, eligibility relies on the basic ‘fighter control’ qualification, irrespective of subsequent career progression? Of course, an officer who starts their career in an air traffic or flight operations role and progresses later to a more senior post in a CRC would then become eligible for membership based on the qualification obtained at that time, just as would have happened in the past; there would be no need to give a blanket inclusion to all members of the AOB and certainly not at this early stage!

It is, then, my opinion that we should make no changes to the Association’s constitution (or name) in the short term. I suggest that the Committee should be charged with investigating the future qualifications required of officers in ‘aerospace’ roles (which, clearly, include 'Space' and AEW operations) and examine how those qualifications could be integrated with those that give current Association membership eligibility. At the very least, the current eligibility criteria should be expanded to include roles routinely associated with the now defunct ABM Branch. Yes, it would mean that some members of the AOB would not be eligible for membership, but the same would apply to most of the rest of the RAF!
2nd April 2018 at 1:28 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: General Discussions
Topic: 100th Anniversary Of The Formation Of The RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:58 Characters
Thank you Ginge and to those who accompanied you. Richard
2nd April 2018 at 12:43 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1896 Characters
Thank you Tim for your post (1 April). As an association we seem to have wide objectives and a rather narrow definition of eligibility as per the constitution as there is a specific mention of requirement to have been in the 'Fighter Control Branch'; I'm not sure I've ever been in an RAF Branch called Fighter Control as I joined as a General Duties (Ground) Branch officer and left as an Ops Support Branch Officer - perhaps within that 32 year interlude we did have a Fighter Control Branch but I really cannot recall it. Sensibly, in my opinion, we seem to have been ignoring the precise constitutional wording on eligibility and have welcomed ABMs and indeed Dowding Veterans - totally in line with our objectives. Now the question (stating the obvious) is whether we should welcome AOB officers. Tim has had a briefing on the new branch and has concluded that it is 'such a different beast that it bears no relation to who and what we are as an association'. I would like to know more about the AOB - Sean's newsletter information was helpful but clearly there is more to know. Tim considers 'Fighter Control' to have died but I struggle to accept this when CRCs still exist compiling a recognized air picture (whatever the terminology) and controlling aircraft conducting interceptions - if that's not 'Fighter Control' what is it? 'BMEWS' still exists and there are still mission crews in E3Ds doing roles that prior to Sunday, 1 April 2018 were considered to be 'Fighter Control'. Now I'm sure anyone serving prior to 1 April 2018 in the roles I've just described will be welcome to join the 'FCA' on a legacy basis. But the way this discussion seems to be heading is that those joining the RAF now and ending-up doing these very same roles will not be eligible. How can that be right?
2nd April 2018 at 9:52 am
PersonMalcolm Crayford

Category: General Discussions
Topic: 100th Anniversary Of The Formation Of The RAF   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:628 Characters
I was proud to represent the Association of RAF Fighter Control Officers yesterday at the Service to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force held at St Clement Danes Church followed by the Air Force Board Reception at the Royal Courts of Justice. I was joined by fellow FCA Members: Lizzie Norton, Camilla Jago, Angie Johnson, Phil Buttery and Anne Clarke.

We, as 'fighter controllers', have all contributed to the rich heritage and strong ethos of the world's first independent Air Force and we should feel justifiably proud of our immense contribution in the first 100 years!
2nd April 2018 at 9:48 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Happy Birthday Royal Air Force....   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:171 Characters
Well done Alec and all those other stalwarts. Great picture too. Brought back happy memories (well some anyway!) of my time at Henlow as part of 216 (Yellow) Sqn.

Grant
1st April 2018 at 11:00 pm
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Happy Birthday Royal Air Force....   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:59 Characters

https://www.dropbox.com/s/67vbwtxzqvbjekj/Century.jpg?dl=0
1st April 2018 at 10:51 pm
PersonAlec Trevett

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Happy Birthday Royal Air Force....   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:905 Characters
Dear All

Here's one which may make you smile. Today 1 Apr 2018 being the 100th Anniversary of the RAF of course....the major aerial spectaculars are apparently all scheduled for later in the year - but not on 'the day' itself. Therefore a bunch of ne-er do wells including several retired RAF officers decided to do something very aeronautical actually on the Anniversary day itself and converged in a number of privately owned aircraft on a well-known historic service airfield to form the shape of 1-0-0 in the sky.

I've just got home from participating in the RAF "100" formation of Chipmunks and Bulldogs over RAF Henlow this afternoon. Just thought you'd chuckle at the news that the FC Branch (in the form of yours truly) was represented in this minor spectacle. It was a real privilege to participate.

Alec Trevett (aka "Blue 3") :-)
01/04/18
1st April 2018 at 2:44 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
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Happy birthday all! The flag flies high on the masthead here at 1 Boobery, along with the Commanding Officer's pennant which, needless to say, is Ally's rather than any of mine. A sad day for Fighter Controllers though as our specialisation finally disappears. I can only hope that those who were proud to be called one won't let the name die. "What did you do in the war Daddy?" - "I was an 'Air Operator"..... Ughh!
1st April 2018 at 11:32 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

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Sorry I mis-spelled 'brooches' (and any other errors in my English) in my post below.
1st April 2018 at 11:28 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

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Abject apologies for silence since my 'holding' post and thanks to Grant for his 'nudging' email on this commemorative day.

I sympathise with those who would regret the passing of the concept of the FCA. One of the reasons for starting up the Association (and I was in DDGE&AEW when Pete Hunter under Bill Gambold’s oversight kicked off the 'grunt' work on the foundations) was to strengthen the identity of the specialisation. Of course the specialisation already had a strong internal identity because it was necessarily isolated from airfields and airfield operations by the need for proximity to radar heads and strong passive defence measures (bunkers). This continued as the Specialisation took on duties in the growing ballistic missile early warning organisation. I think this is why it built up such a strong esprit de corps and partly why the Association has achieved the success that it has. The external identity of the Association was achieved initially by exhibition of its livery, for example the wearing of an identifying tie (ladies please excuse the lack of corresponding female accoutrements). Recently this has been boosted by Tim W’s heritage campaign. I believe that this heritage should be preserved within the Association as it mutates because it records a historically significant, battle-honours winning development of the RAF.

That said, I welcome the prospect of joining the Specialisation to its partners in the newly-coined air operations domain and I think the Association will be enriched by the injection of heritage from their different perspectives. For some time now, FC units have increasingly been released from their concrete isolation and serving members of the association have as far as I’m aware experienced more airfield basing and increasing cooperation with ATC and Flight Ops colleagues. This should, I would have thought, encourage the interest in socialising and, for those entering retirement, keeping up contact in an expanded association.

Harking back to my sympathy with ‘diehard’ FCs, I here float the idea of adding a clause to the constitution similar to the one that deals with regional branches (para 13 of the current constitution). I must admit I thought that these were referred to as ‘chapters’ in one version of the constitution and my suggestion is to allow the creation of ‘functional’ chapters for the various sub-specialisations of Air Operations. However, I would not advocate the creation of separate chapter committees as are allowed for regional branches. I am thinking that a member could elect to be either a general member of the newly named association or to be identified with the ‘FC Chapter’, ‘ATC Chapter’, ‘Flight Operations Chapter’ etc. The only admin that I would envisage as necessary to support this would be a field in the membership record to denote a member’s chosen chapter. There could, though, be identifying ties/headscarves/broches per chapter. This could be managed through chapter representatives on the committee who could also hold main committee roles.

As for a name for a remodelled Association, I think the title suggested by the KISS principle - the ‘Air Operations Association’ implies too generic a functionality of the specialisations that would be eligible for an ‘all encompassing’ association if that is what is eventually decided. The best alternative I can come up with is ‘Aerospace Operations Managers’ Association’. ‘Management’ is not a very ‘punchy’ concept but it seems to me to be a common denominator of what the sub-specialisations in the Air Operations Branch will do.

As for extending membership to those who are serving or retired non-commissioned personnel, I have been against this in the past but would now abstain from taking a position for or against given the different, broader culture that will attend the new branch.
1st April 2018 at 10:03 am
PersonMichael Clarke

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Well said Tim. Thank you for putting it so clearly.
1st April 2018 at 9:54 am
PersonTimothy Willbond

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I am not sure I can help resolve Richard's confusion but I can clarify the background to some of the wording in the constitution.

I need to go back to first principles to demonstrate the logic I am applying to the situation we now face.

Within the RAF officer specialisations are created to meet a specific military imperative which is often driven by a technology.

Radar and a brew of technologies produced a military imperative that since its first manifestation as the Dowding System has been variously articulated as Control and Reporting, Air Defence Ground Environment and latterly as Aerospace Surveillance and Control. The common thread is, of course,air defence command and control.

An officer specialisation was established to man operate and use the technology to deliver air command and control the specialisation from the start had two distinct tasks: compiling the recognised air picture for commanders to fight the battle from and the tactical control of the battle.

The officer branch has also had three names: Administration and Special Duties ( This branch was not entirely concerned with ADC2), Fighter Control and Aerospace Battle Management. With the one caveat against A&SD the single focus of the branch was delivering ADC2. From 1939 until today we have had a common purpose.

The name problem which arose when the ABM branch was formed created much debate but nothing had changed in the main raison d'être and so there was no need to change the definition of who was eligible to join. The wording about its predecessors and successors was predicated on the basis that whilst the name may change the core underpinning would not and whatever name may appear in the future we would still be defining membership in a similar way.

The AOB as has been described is fundamentally different and as was explained to us in committee Air Defence per se does not exist any more. Although i have heard the words explaining the military imperative behind setting up this new branch I personally do not understand it when I try and track back to first principles. As Sean has explained the basis on which we currently define eligibility for membership will no longer apply. Yes a CRC will still exist but it has also been explained that the new branch will be so differently constructed such that it is not possible to differential roles per se and it was explained for instance that there is no reason why a Sqn Ldr should not be appointed to an MC position without ever having served at a CRC.

My concern is that this is such a different beast that it bears no relation to who and what we are as an association. If the membership decides that we should change to become a de facto AOB association so be it but I just want a balanced argument that explains the full facts and lays out the implications.

For me, in essence, the 'Fighter Control' branch died today. The question is do we want to continue to come together as 'Fighter Controllers' and help promote our heritage and achievements which are very rich and until the last few years was largely lost in the mists of time for as long as possible (the Marine Branch ceased in 1986 and is still active and promoting its heritage very effectively and I believe a Airfield Construction branch association still exists)? Or do we want to go the alternative route and effectively set up a new association that adopts the ethos and emerging heritage of this new military discipline?

It matters not a jot what the new AOB wants it is for the membership will decide and my cri de coeur is that the facts are fully laid before the membership and that we put the people factor to the forefront of the argument and not the organisational construct which seems to be at the forefront of some of the thinking.

1st April 2018 at 9:05 am
PersonTimothy Willbond

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Happy Birthday RAF. RIP ASACS and Fighter Control.
31st March 2018 at 2:42 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

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There are a few things in this debate that puzzle me. First, given the significant reorganization within the RAF (happening tomorrow) as explained by Sean in his 2017 newsletter article, why can I find no information or news about this on the RAF website? The recruiting website is no help either and it looks as though some roles have been removed presumably in preparation for some information on the AOB. Am I right in assuming that CRCs will still exist on Monday staffed by officers doing the same role that they had last week but now part of the AOB? How do we interpret our current constitution regarding the eligibility for membership of this group I presume still exists as per my previous sentence? Why can't I find Aerospace Battle Manager mentioned in our current constitution - have I missed something? Is the name of the branch relevant? I joined as a GD(G) Ground officer with a suffix 'FC' denoting a specialization within the GD (G) branch ( 'FC' encompassing a variety of employment roles) . From what little I've been able to glean, the AOB will have specializations of Control & Systems and employment roles including Weapons (control) and Surveillance but unless we change our constitution, these officers would appear to be ineligible to join the 'FCA'

(5.Any officer shall be eligible for full membership of the Association providing he/she is
serving, or has served, in the Royal Air Force, Womens Royal Air Force, Royal Auxiliary Air
Force or Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and has served:
a.In the Fighter Control Branch and has been awarded a recognised fighter control
qualification or
b.As a Radar Supervisor, Fighter Director or GCI Controller prior to the formation of the
Fighter Control Branch.)

Interestingly though the objectives of the association are:
a.Primary Objectives
(1)To further the recognition and identity of the Fighter Control Branch, its predecessors and
successors.
(2)To unify and sustain a spirit of comradeship among serving and retired members of the
Fighter Control Branch, its predecessors and successors.

So while I have commented that I'm not sure it will be practical to single out AOB officers who hold something we would recognize as a FC qualification from the rest, if these officers are excluded in the future (which apparently starts tomorrow) we had better amend the objectives of our association.

Richard

30th March 2018 at 5:24 pm
PersonMike Good

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Ahh! - the answer to my unvoiced question, "I wonder what Tim thinks of all this?"...
-
Sean, I feel your pain concerning your "hard day in Main Building". If it's any consolation, I found the first 3 tours there were the worst! And I'm sure that Richard wasn't being critical of you when he said that, ".... we should also remember that the FCA is not our formal name" - he was making a wider point about the naming debate. Perhaps it should have been called "The RAF Fighter Control Association" from the start, rather than the somewhat clumsy "Association of Royal Air Force Fighter Control Officers" (AORAFFCO?!). Happily we've all been using "the FCA" as shorthand ever since.
-
You say that you thought the iterative drafting process which produced your Change of Mandate letter had resulted in an end-product that, "... was balanced and gave the pros and cons of both options". Frankly, it didn't. I don't think anyone could have read it without concluding that it was heavily biased towards the "all change" option. In a 2-page letter, only one paragraph is devoted to the status quo option and that is exclusively about how negative it would be. That para is reproduced below as a reminder to others:-
-
"The other option is to stay as we are as other RAF associations have done when the organisation from which they sprung ceased to exist. Whilst this would keep the association true to our raison d’etre and provide a clear platform for our continuing heritage work, we would not be able to continue to operate as we do now. We would no longer be able to further the recognition and identity of our serving officers nor draw in new membership from the Service. As such, a declining membership would increasingly limit the scope of our activities and, over time, we would cease to exist."
-
Much more needs to be said about this option - and much of it has been, but only on this message board where too few members log in to see it. If you are happy that the pros and cons of the "all change" option have already been adequately aired in your Change of Mandate letter and elsewhere, that's fine; however, in the case of the status quo option, they haven't, and, in the interests of balance, I think they should be. I would therefore like to see our website's facility used to put out the equivalent pros and cons of the status quo option to all members' emails. I suggested below that each camp might like to put out its own case separately for their preferred option ahead of a simple vote on whether we wanted the committee to take it any further, but now that I know that there are differing views within the Committee itself, I would be equally happy to go with Tim's suggestion for them to put out a single proposal for change with supporting balanced arguments for both options.
-
Finally, I was going to recommend that, after your hard day in Main Building, you should adjourn to the Recovery Cabin (pre-IUKADGE bunker speak). For the happy band that was the fighter control "SLITS" (Squadron Leaders In Town) in the 1980s, this was the Val Taro wine bar in Orange Street, just off Trafalgar Square, where Luciano and Sergio would help you forget the size of your in-tray with copious amounts of Italian house white and all the peanuts and olives you could eat. However, a quick check on the internet reveals that it's now a balti. I say again, all change is not necessarily good!

30th March 2018 at 3:24 pm
PersonTimothy Willbond

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Further to my post yesterday which was done at a bit of a tilt, which seems to be a feature of life these days, because I represent a different view within the committee Sean has asked me to be the co-moderator wrt comments posted on this message board. Within the internal committee debate the risks I outlined are recognised and Sean is determined that they should be addressed in the change to the constitution. Hereby lies the rub, it is my contention that we will only understand the true nature of the change and how we are to mitigate the risk by seeing the detail of the changes written as an amendment to our constitution and rules. The debate that has gone before prompted me to dust off a copy of our constitution and rules and it is clear that we actually have to vote on a a written change to the constitution.

A further thought which I think fleshes out Mike's suggestion somewhat is that the proposal for change with supporting balanced arguments is put to the membership and that they are asked to vote on whether they would wish the committee to draw up detailed proposal by way of changes to the constitution and rules. I venture that we would only need a simple majority to go to the next stage which would be for the committee to draw up the actual changes necessary to the constitution and rules to be presented for a vote that would require a three fourths majority to enact the change. I would support the view that this is too important to be left to unspecified proxy votes and we would have to devise a way of ensuring that everyone that voted specifically spelt out their agreement or otherwise to the changes.
29th March 2018 at 9:26 pm
PersonTimothy Willbond

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My goodness, a lot of ground has been covered. Sean is aware that my view is that we should be looking at the problem not from an organisational standpoint but from the perspective of why we came together as a group with a common ethos and common experiences and heritage; during the internal debate I used the phrase common purpose to cover all these reasons. Which ever way you cut the issue the AOB - as Sean has cogently pointed out - is a very different beast from ASACs and should it be agreed to change our mandate to embrace the AOB we will in reality be setting up a new association with an entirely different common purpose and I have argued that there is a real danger that our common purpose would atrophy quite quickly. Putting it a different way, the argument that we must embrace the AOB if the association is to survive is flawed because this is based on keeping the organisational construct going but forgetting about the people and why we formed the Fighter Control Association in the first place - this would potentially die very quickly.

This is not a case of denying the reality as it currently exists and whatever we think about the AOB and the thinking that led to it, the fact remains that like other branches that have ceased to exist it does not mean we should walk away form ensuring the heritage and achievements of the branch are not kept alive. The FCA has been the platform for doing this and my concern as the committee member leading on this is that the reality is that the platform will no longer exist and support for keeping our heritage alive will dwindle very rapidly as the new branch creates its own heritage.

Seans analysis of how the operational and support aspects have become blurred and as a consequence has opened the way for the creation of the AOB makes interesting reading. In a strand of work I have been doing aimed at the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain I have produced a background note in which I address the issue of how the 'ASACs' was essentially cast in a supporting role and has never been acknowledged as a heritage stakeholder in the battle and one of the three key elements that delivered victory. Related but as an aside, for me the interesting point is that the two core branches that are coming together in the AOB were born from very different military imperatives. One was demonstrably operational as I outline in the paper by going back to first principles and the other was clearly a support organisation. As one of our colleagues who helped with editing the paper commented a support organisation has never been part of a kill chain. I can see from the last comment that it may be supposed that the paper is contrasting the two branches which it is not; it is solely about arguing that those that worked in a multiplicity of roles in the Dowding System should be acknowledged as having been involved in a core operational task and viewed as one of three operational components that delivered victory in battle. Would the AOB be interested in this a few years down the line?

I have been following the discussion and I must say I am in agreement with Mike’s analysis given the limited number of members who have joined the debate. His suggested way forward is both sensible and pragmatic.

At which point I shall introduce another thought which seems to apply to so much of the Brexit debate - I will know what I think when I hear what I say.
28th March 2018 at 1:30 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

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A 'secretarial/administrative' note on the conduct of any 'survey' to advise it will be necessary to post it out (snail mail) to the very small number of our members who haven't embraced (or don't want to!) the electronic age. If we don't do this, the survey would be "invalid". Alastair, thank you for the 'Survey Monkey' suggestion. I may be in touch with you about that.
27th March 2018 at 9:02 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

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Oh and please forgive or 'referee' the typos made in haste!
27th March 2018 at 9:00 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

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Firstly Mike; all sound idioms - Can't top them for applicability for now - after a hard day in Main Building, I've used all mine up for one day.

All: Thanks for the supportive comments over my delay in getting back on the Forum one more apology to add – sorry for not referring to our Association by its correct name Association of Royal Air Force Fighter Controller Officers.

Turning to the question of the moment. I too thought we would have had more discussion on such a weighty topic given the additional information in my Annual update and the note of a proposal for a change of Mandate. Perhaps we just need a bit more time to let others engage? Nonetheless, the Change of Mandate letter was crafted over a good number of weeks and I’d like to think it was co-authored by Tim Willbond and myself. Indeed, Tim presented a very robust and honest challenge to the iterative drafts so that what went forward we thought was balanced and gave the pros and cons of both options. I would rather not have a case for and against letter as a prequel.
I admit given the limited uptake on the forum, that I am a little unsure now where to take this and in what timescales. One of the main issues that the serving Members have is that we cannot access the Assn website from our Work IT system. So one thing you will not have seen is the plethora of emails I have had from serving Members supporting a proposal to move forward or make a decision not to do so. The main body of opinion from those ABM/FC Members currently serving is for allowing new membership from serving officers of the new AOB but they also want to preserve their (our) Heritage and esprit de corps as well.
I will encourage then to join the debate on this forum so that they can champion what they want from the Association moving forward as whist I support the need to change in order to protect the long term future of the FCA – I will soon (in relative terms) also be retired. I genuinely like the way the Association is run and what it stands for – it has been well looked after by Tim and those of you who have been Chairman before him. I fear, however, that we must deal with the way the world is today and not as we would wish it to be. That said, I do believe that the Association of Royal Air Force Fighter Controller Officers could continue as is for a good few years yet if the current retired Membership continue to enthusiastically support it.
So what’s next:
a). I will contact the Ctte and ask them to review this thread and ask them whether or not they wish to alter the phrasing of the question – along the lines of should this be taken forward … meaning authorising the Ctte to start the work to make a full proposition to the membership in terms of: Naming, Membership , Constitution, Funding and Heritage with a full and final vote to accept the change or not under Article 21 of the current Charter.
b). I will encourage the serving members to join the thread to articulate their aspirations and concerns – it would be useful if those currently engaged could use their network to foster debate.
c). I think aiming for a 1 May 18 initial proposition for an electronic poll (rather than ballot) is a sensible timeline that will keep us honest.
Hope this keeps the thread alive – if I’ve missed any point you wanted answering more directly please just re-attack (a 90 by 4 should do it).

@Sean
27th March 2018 at 8:22 pm
PersonMike Good

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PS Sean, I'm guessing from your use of the phrase, "....admiring the problem" that you must be a fellow fan of epigrammist , and Jeremy Corbyn lookalike, Ashleigh Brilliant - "I don't have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem". Have you also come across these by the same author? :-
- "Things are sometimes better left as they are, but you can't be sure until you change them"
- "You can't stop progress, but you can help decide what is progress and what isn't"
- "Vote wisely, even if that means not voting at all"
- "Doing it wrong fast is at least better than doing it wrong slowly"
..... and my personal favourite: "The majority is never right, unless it includes me"
Keep smiling!
27th March 2018 at 4:44 pm
PersonMike Good

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No need to apologise Sean, it reinforces my point that serving officers have far more important things to do than concern themselves overmuch with what's going on in what is basically an old comrades association. And if they don't, they should have! It's only when they themselves are approaching the time to hang up their own overlay and chinagraph (really!? - they don't!?) that membership of an association should loom somewhat larger in their lives.

Taking the 4 areas that your 2 posts address:

a) Association Naming. I think we have a consensus - this is a separate issue that must wait until until b) below is sorted.
b) Vote vs AGM/EGM; timing (1 Apr) or not. This is our immediate issue and I'll come back to it below.
c) ABM Continuance. You have made it crystal clear, here and elsewhere, that THERE WILL BE NO MORE FC/ABMs TO RECRUIT. Who we might take instead will, as you say, be the subject for further work if we decide that we are going for change.
d) SNCO Membership. Red herring for now - apologies for introducing it. Shelve for longer term consideration whichever way we go.

So, back to b), the one area we need to focus on now. Two elements here: Vote vs AGM/EGM and Timing; 1 Apr or not.

a) Vote vs AGM. You have put my mind at rest that the proposed 1 Apr ballot result will not constitute the final decision on change vs status quo ante. As you say, this vote should be viewed as a "should-we-take-this-forward-or-not?" testing of the water to see if it's even worth spending time and effort on it. If a simple majority say it is, then the other workstreams you mentioned can go ahead and the results can then be put out for discussion and decision by the membership at (according to Article 21) an AGM/EGM. However, as you so rightly say, we have never (and will never) be able to get any sort of representative portion of the membership to an AGM, and simply giving all the proxy votes to the Chairman means that you might as well tell us now what's going to happen!! I would therefore be happy, on this occasion, to have another postal ballot as the basis for the final decision.
b) Timing; 1 Apr or not? Back to the first "should-we-take-this-forward-or-not?" vote. As with all referenda, it's the framing of the question that counts. Clearly, the original one won't now fly - do you have a revised one in mind? Here I should nail my colours to the mast. As per my previous posts, I am in favour of the status quo ante and I am concerned that a badly framed question might produce a result that eliminates that option completely (which a "yes" vote for the original question would have done). How about this for a way forward?:-
i) Put back the circulation of the question until 1st May. This will give time for thought on framing the question itself.
ii) In the meantime, put out (as two separate circulations to the whole membership) the case for change and the case for status quo ante. I will volunteer to produce the latter if yourself, or one of the other proponents for change, will produce the former. The reason I suggest two all-points broadcasts to members' email is that the discussions on this message board are simply not reaching the majority. A quick analysis over the weekend shows that (not including Committee members) less than 16% of Full Members have even logged on to the website since your "Change of Mandate" letter came out, less than 6% have commented and, of those, 23 of the 35 posts have come from just 4 of us. This way they will at least have an informed basis on which to vote.
iii) On 1st May, circulate the question for a vote.

Over......
23rd March 2018 at 9:23 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

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Thank you for your very welcome response Sean. I agree with most of what Richard has said particularly concerning the potential biasing of a vote at an AGM/EGM if the chairman holds a significant number of proxies. Where I differ from Richard is that I would not change the membership eligibilty criteria to accommodate new entrants to the AOB, nor would I change the nme of the Association. We were established as The Association of Royal Air Force Fighter Controller Officers and we are still Fighter Controllers; we should be true to our roots. Mike
23rd March 2018 at 7:25 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

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Having kept track of all the discussions to date, I concur with Richard that the primary discussion should be eligibility of future membership. Canvassing as many members as possible through a postal vote or even through a simple “Survey monkey” vote, would help gauge the sentiment of the majority of the existing membership. I have a license for “Survey monkey” if the committee requires help. Kind regards, Al squared.
23rd March 2018 at 3:31 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

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Sean, thank you for responding at length - much to ponder. By the way I enjoyed your section on Ashmore and his WW1 system, I wrote an article on this very subject for the C&R Bulletin (long defunct I expect) about 25 years ago entitled something like 'The First Fighter Controllers?' The 2017 AGM was the first time I heard a suggestion of renaming the association the 'Dowding Association' (missed AGM 2016) and also your briefing on the AOB and the challenges that could pose for the FCA. I don't recall any discussion though nor an overwhelming view - more no view really and time was pressing. Some of the points that stand out from your 2 part post below are the lack of overall representation at AGMs and the potential biasing of a vote if the chairman holds significant proxies - both good points and I applaud your desire for everyone to have an equal (I still don't think a straight postal vote where the only option is yes/no is the answer). I'm disappointed if the 'FCA' name is holding back current ABMs from joining because they don't associate with the name Fighter Control(ler) although I can understand this especially as time moves on. We did debate a change 10 years ago or so and it wasn't popular then. We should also remember that the FCA is not our formal name. So I agree with one of your early points that debating a name change is largely pointless if we are not going to change eligibility to be a member (I trust I understood your drift). I know there have been suggestions that we could pick & choose amongst the AOB officers so that something akin to a FC/ABM qualification is a prerequisite. Personally, I don't like that approach suspecting that it would be unworkable and divisive anyway within a new branch trying to find its feet and identity. Your comment on CQs etc seems to support this view. My own view, expressed several posts below is that we should open-up membership to the AOB officers but clearly that is not universally supported. So I suggest the first question to settle is eligibility for future membership and perhaps the way ahead is a postal consultation on this which would be non-binding but would shape the committee's view as to whether the topic should be taken forward to a general meeting? Should there be a majority in favour of change, the name issue could then be debated and the whole matter decided at a general meeting where a constitutional change requires a 3/4 vote in favour. Put another way, I think it is necessary to prepare the ground through consultation where options are a bit more open than the in/out 'vote' originally proposed and this will give the committee a clearer view of what can or cannot be changed. Richard
23rd March 2018 at 12:59 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

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Post:5955 Characters
Part 2 of the Post ….
b) Timing and methodology. 2 issues here: the first do we need to decide by 1 April 2018 – simply put ‘No’. But I would venture to suggest we have been admiring this problem now for a number of years and it was discussed initially in the 2016 AGM and then at reasonable length at the last AGM. The problem has arisen that we just don’t get a representative proportion of the membership along to the AGMs. Tradition (and constitution) has it that the Chairman (or any member) can be nominated by individual Members to cast proxy votes. As most members have traditionally just ticked the ‘Chairman’ box for the Proxy this would mean that the Chairman would have a disproportionate advantage to throw the decision one way or the other. Hence the rational for a ‘Postal’ EGM. The Committee has debated how we take this to a vote in depth both in formal session and in many email exchanges. My original draft letter did have a range of things that would need to happen (to accord with the Constitution) should the vote be carried. However, the Ctte at the time thought that this could be seen to suggest a predetermined outcome so those aspects were removed. So in my mind this is a ‘should we take this forward or not’ vote or not. If the motion for change is carried then there would be several work-strands to be taken forward. Broadly speaking I would break these down to inter alia: membership eligibility and constitution; Heritage; Business/Financial Planning; Heritage; Web Design; Strategic Communications Plan. Of course we can add ‘assn name’ to this or lump it in the constitution work. The outcome of this work would then have to be put to the membership for ratification either at an AGM or EGM. I think this is entirely in line with spirit and the letter or Article 21 of the Constitution but I am happy for this to amended by any that have better knowledge of the Constitution. But back to timing. We do need to let the current Serving Cohort know what the direction of travel will be for the FCA. They are growing impatient – the younger element of the ABM Branch are holding off joining as they don’t identify with the term FC but do see the real merits of an association that both represents them and provides a social enterprise for them to network and realise opportunities. As has been said, if we choose not to adopt the Air Ops Branch – they will form their own Association. Is this a bad thing – in principle no; however, I strongly believe it would leach the serving membership across, hastening the decline of the current Assn.

c) Hopefully a short one. ABM Continuance within the new Air Operations Branch. I will try and post 2 x ‘Internal Briefing Note’ PDF files that give the formal policy for transition. In short – there will no longer be a ABM Branch in any form (pseudo or or not) following the 1 April 18 formation of the Air Operations Branch (that said, interestingly it looks like the FC Brevet will endure for a few years yet – hurrah!). In reality this is already in practice and most of the underpinning structural changes have already taken place. There is admittedly been some annoying confusion with the way the RAF Recruiting and Selection team have been messaging the new Branch as an employment stream. But these have been employment legislation and policy driven and so have been outside their control. All of us serving from whatever background will be Air Ops Branch Officers wef 1 April 18. I would like to put to bed the notion of ASACS CQs being the permanent selection tool for the Association membership going forward. There will be a legacy element that will be able to identify some new Air Ops Branch qualifications with traditional CRC qualifications, but this will be short lived. All new Air Operations branch Officers will undertake a common CQ course which has 6 modules reflecting the various Skills Knowledge and Attitudes of the sub-employment roles within both the Control and Systems specialisations. Very few will just hold an Weapons Controller or a CRC Surveillance Officer related qualification; in reality a large section of the branch will flow between employment areas (CRC, E3, Space, Airfield, Ships, ATC Centres, Land Formation and sub-units) on their way to promotion to Sqn Ldr. Again this has happened by design for the last few years – the 1 April transition point formalises it on the Joint Personnel Administration System and in the associated Career Management structure.
d) SNCO Membership. This again has been talked about for many years. The Second IBN I have relates to how the BMT Process and formation of a single Air Operations Branch For Officers affects the Trade groups. I hope this will be illustrative of the challenge taking SNCO Membership forward. I recall being almost at the point of a TG 9 and TG12 merger in 1996. The SNCO Controller merger into the new TG7 is tied to the Air Operations Branch timeline but my recommendation would be to see how the SNCO Systems Branch pans out before determining a way forward for SNCOs in any Association going forward.
So a little longer than I had planned and a long overdue response. I am sure this will promote a flurry of responses and healthy challenges – please spread the message to friends and colleagues to get engaged. For my part I will undertake to review this Forum every 48 – 72 Hours and post responses as and when needed. To that end if you want a response from me (personal view) please post as @Sean. If you would like the considered opinion of the Ctte then please tag @Chair; but please bear in mind that it will take longer to garner consensus but I will update members on our deliberations should it come to that. Lastly, this has been written at speed so any ISS A-Grade students out there – please forgive spelling, grammar and syntax errors!
Best Wishes @Sean
23rd March 2018 at 12:58 pm
PersonSean O'Connor

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:6444 Characters
Dear All;

Please accept my profound apologies for not getting on to the site earlier. I have been away and on my return had password issues which I have now circumvented :-).
- Firstly, thanks you for a genuinely productive and useful debate which shows the values of this forum (and hopefully others in the future). Secondly, particularly to @Mike Good and @Richard Jenner; thanks for your patience in waiting for this reply. I can assure you the Ctte has been monitoring the Forum and communicating to me threads of the discussion as they have been developing.
- Moving on to some feedback on the issues raised; I think the main points to address first off surround: a) The Assn Naming; b) vote verses EGM/AGM; timing (1 Apr or Not); c) ABM continuance within the AOB and d) SNCO Membership. There is a lot to cover so I’ll be brief – but this is not to cut off discussion (and if I’m writing abruptly … it’s not my intention so apologies) I see this response more as adjunct to more discourse. So to some explanations which owing to the character limit will be in 2 x posts:

a) The Assn Naming. All fair points – in the Apr AGM last year this was debated at reasonable length and the overwhelming view in the room at the time was that the Dowding Assn was an appropriate name (if we were to change the mandate). In practice if the membership do not opt for change then there seems little merit in changing as the remaining membership would be by and large from the era when Fighter Control was the Branch name. Ethos and heritage are vital for any military organisation to endure; they not only shape its place in the perception of others but also form the core of its sense of identity. So as a corpus of like minded individuals (now and whatever the community is going forward) we need to be able to trace our roots back to the birth of Air Command and Control and Battlespace Management. Indeed, in my last job I had the opportunity to give all Cadets arriving at Cranwell an arrival talk on day 4 to set the context for their journey ahead. One of my core messages to them was “it is very hard to understand where you are going if you do not know where you have come from”. So let’s unpack that another level. To counter air raids on London during World War I Major General Edward Bailey Ashmore (RFC) constructed a system known as the London Air Defence Area (LADA). Ashmore put defensive weapons into three rings around the city, searchlights and anti-aircraft artillery in the outer ring, fighter aircraft in the middle ring, and the innermost ring in the city contained more anti-aircraft guns. Ashmore set up a large plotting table at Horse Guards in London. Information from spotters was relayed to this central room where wooden blocks were placed on a large map to indicate the location of aircraft and other information. Observers around the map could relay this information to one of 25 regional control rooms, who re-created the portions of the map relevant to them and passed the information to the various weapons in their region. The system lacked early detection, which was deemed essential as the performance of aircraft improved. What replaced it came to be known as the Dowding System. Which in reality was a system of systems but most saw it as a unitary war fighting entity and thus, the most visible aspect which being the radar system, tends to dominate the recorded narrative. But in truth, the radars and information networks were run by the signals organisation. Although in 1940, this organisation was considered more of a front line activity, over time ‘signals’ activities were moved firmly into a ‘support’ role and there are parallels with the evolution of the ATC and Flight Operations roles in this respect. Today, however, there are closer parallels in the blurring of boundaries between operations and support that we can draw on. Such was the Dowding systems relationship to many subsets of the Bletchley Park Enigma, X and Y programmes that much of what went on was most secret and hidden in the support lines. As Defence struggles for how we gain and maintain Information Advantage in the contemporary battle space – these linkages will become just as prevalent with Air Operations Branch Personnel being at its very heart. Therefore, without looking back, it is easy to see why the name ‘Dowding Association’ may not be reflective of where the Air Operations Branch is heading. But for me the Dowding Association relates to the ‘System’ developed by Sir Hugh when he was actually the Air Member for Supply and Research as a result of the famous Tizard Ctte that sat in January 1935 that brought the phrase ‘the bomber will always get through’ into the public psyche. If we look at the proposed Assn name in that vein, the Dowding represents bringing together cutting edge secret complex technologies (that were seen in the same context as Teslar’s infamous ‘Death Ray at the time) and the processes that were then melded together to form a contiguous information pathway, from raw data through decision making, to execution. The second parallel to today’s nascent Air Operations Branch is the multiplicity of roles that required very skilled and dedicated people, some demonstrating a new form of aptitude. Therefore I would argue that the Dowding name should be a name we take forward as it places these pivotal elements (cutting edge technology, innovative processes and creative and agile people with one another to for the first ‘real-time’ air C2 system. Indeed the Dowding system does represent a system of systems that synchronised and directed activity, with timeliness and precision, that shaped both how battle management techniques and the tactics themselves could be employed and so its relevance borne out of the necessity to defend the homeland against an existential air threat is as relevant to contemporary Air C2 and battle management as it was in WW2. Probably a bit longer than I would have wished but as Churchill said ‘if I had more time I would have written less’! So yes I think the subject of a Name for the Association should be the result of a separate ‘Vote’ but do see it as inextricably linked to the major problem set at hand – to amend the constitution in some way to reflect the Air Operations Branch or maintain the status qua ante.

part 2 of the response above!
21st March 2018 at 5:41 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:25 Characters
Thank you Grant,

Richard
21st March 2018 at 8:29 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:399 Characters
Mike(s)/Richard/Costi (and others)

Sean is aware of a need to respond. I am sure he will do that as soon as he has cleared his 'In' tray after a period on holiday.

Ding Dong is researching a venue for our AGM. We do have a couple of weekends in view - both in mid to late June. I will publish the date as soon as I know I can go firm. AGM documentation will follow.

Your aye

Grant
21st March 2018 at 7:49 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:22 Characters
Thanks Costi.

Richard
20th March 2018 at 9:41 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:96 Characters
For anyone who is interested, and for the record, I am in full agreement with Mike and Richard.
20th March 2018 at 9:03 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:77 Characters
Thanks Costi. I'm glad someone on the Committee is taking us seriously!
20th March 2018 at 8:26 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:167 Characters
Gents

I will contact the committee members to ensure that all of these comments have been captured and request a response on your behalf.

Regards

Costi

Web Manager
20th March 2018 at 8:23 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:315 Characters
Richard, if you check the "Membership" page, "Last Login" column, I think you'll find that the reason this thread is a bit one way is because, with the exception of Grant and Tim (and Costi of course as Mr Website) no one on the Committee seems to be logging in to read what we are writing!
20th March 2018 at 7:05 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:487 Characters
This thread seems to be a bit one way. Is anyone from the committee going to respond to Mike's questions below? Regardless of constitutional issues (I agree with Mike by the way), we need to know what the way ahead will be regarding the name of the association and eligibility for membership after the ABM branch ceases to exist. It's nearly 12 months since the last AGM and we don't even have a date for this year's - even BOFs have to clear space in their diaries.
18th March 2018 at 3:38 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:301 Characters
Hello All,

I have added the option to upload a personal photo for your profile, there are instructions as to how to do this in the 'Notifications' area on the dashboard.

If you have problems with this please let me know.

Oh and don't forget to leave me some feedback!

Regards

Costi
11th March 2018 at 2:32 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Joke Corner
Topic: IDLE THOUGHTS:   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1639 Characters
Not actually a joke per se, but I thought the retired core membership (aka "the old and bold") might appreciate the end of a telephone conversation overheard recently.
We came into the room just as an acquaintance of ours, Peter, a retired 2-star civil servant latterly of the Ministry of Justice, was concluding a telephone call with some jobsworth, I believe in the local council planning department, who was clearly trying to put the standard set of obstacles in the way of what Peter wanted to achieve in the hope that he would just go away and stop causing him work.
Peter's parting shot: "Now that I am retired, you won't believe how much time, energy and experience I have to make your life a misery"....... phone down!
---------------
.....Okay - proper joke:-
Psychiatrist to Selection Board Officer (SBO) at the OASC - "How do you decide how to stream applicants to be either Fighter Controllers, Air Traffic Controllers or Flight Operations Officers?"
SBO: "We fill a bathtub with water and give the applicant a spoon, a cup and a bucket and tell them to empty the bath".
Psychiatrist: Ah"! so the ones who use the bucket go Fighter Control?"
SBO: "No, they go Air Traffic and the ones that use the cup go Flight Ops"
Psychiatrist: "So how do you pick the Fighter Controllers?"
SBO: "We take the ones that pull out the bathplug"
Psychiatrist: "What about the ones that use the spoon?"
SBO: "We tell them to re-apply after 1st April as the RAF is creating a new Branch for which they seem admirably suited".

9th March 2018 at 5:54 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3491 Characters
As threatened, I'm back....

On the subject of a physical AGM/EGM to discuss our future, as you will all know, within the FCA's Constitution, at Article 21, we have a procedure for considering any proposal for change within the Association - and proposals for change don't come much bigger than this one! Article 21 is reproduced below to save you the trouble of digging out your personal copy which I'm sure you all keep in your bedside tables!

CONSTITUTION - ARTICLE 21

"21. Any proposal for repealing, amending or adding to any of the provisions of this Constitution shall be submitted to an Annual General Meeting, or a Special Meeting convened for this purpose. Due notice of such a proposal(s) shall first be given to the Chairman; such proposal(s) shall be prepared in printed copies for submission to the members at the meeting and shall be marked “Proposed Amendment to the Constitution”. Such proposal(s), for repeal, amendment or addition to any of the provisions of the Constitution, so submitted at an Annual General or Special Meeting and approved by the votes of three-fourths of the full members present, or represented by a proxy vote, shall, when given approval by the President, become effective."

I'm a little confused about where we currently are in that process, and where we go from here. Here's an extract from the Chairman's letter to remind you of what he's asking:-

EXTRACT FROM CHAIRMAN'S LETTER

"In this context, I believe that we are now approaching our first decision point which will be whether the Association wishes to change its current mandate or not. To that end, a ‘postal’ (email) EGM motion will be sent out before the 1st of April to ask: "Should the Association of Fighter Control Officers be renamed the Dowding Association, with an expanded eligibility of membership to include officers from the Air Operations Branch?" Hopefully this letter will spark some further debate before the ballot is sent out and we intend setting up a forum on the FCA website where views and concerns can be further explored. As this represents perhaps the largest change in the Association’s history, it is important that we receive a meaningful number of votes, so please engage."

So my basic question is, "What does the Chairman intend doing with the result of this vote?" Is this a preliminary "feeler" to see if there is any appetite for change, which, if there is, will result in the required detailed proposal being prepared in printed copies for submission to the members at an AGM or Special Meeting? Those present at the meeting should then have the opportunity to discuss the proposed change and, if three quarters of them agree to it, it becomes law. That's fine, if that is what's intended. However, his wording states, "... a 'postal' EGM motion will be sent out by 1 April", implying that this alone will constitute a 'virtual EGM' and that a simple majority 'Yes' or 'No' vote on a very simplistic question will result in a massive law change. I sincerely hope that's not the case as that would definitely not satisfy the procedural requirements of Article 21 and there needs to be massively more detail on what is actually being proposed before the membership can make any sort of meaningful decision.

Can anyone on the Committee enlighten me? Mr Chairman?....
9th March 2018 at 10:48 am
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:594 Characters
How about, "Historic Elite (Lightnings and Later) Nurturing Organisation"? With profound apologies to those who go back to Javelins, Hunters, Vampires, Venoms, Meteors and beyond....and to all my Reporter friends who might think this a bit too Control orientated. I love Reporters, especially the one to whom I am married! X

Standby, I may get slightly more serious later but I've got some trout flies to tie and the dog to walk while herself is gallivanting round London, carrying out a little light retail under cover of visiting some art exhibition or other with her mate.
8th March 2018 at 7:37 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Employment Opportunities
Topic: Dynamic Procedural Controller - UKASOC   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1920 Characters
Hamish McMillian has contacted me with the following request.

'We are trying to attract reservist ATCs / ABM WCs to fill the Dynamic Procedural Controller (DPC) role at the UK ASOC. We are going through the normal reservist request routes but there aren’t that many reservists out there, so we’re also trying to find a wider audience wherever possible. I have included an excerpt from the reserve support request which hopefully contains all of the required details but essentially if anyone is interested they can give me a call to discuss the detail.

The ASOC requires highly motivated operators with a background in Air operations to support training events both in the UK and overseas. There will also be a number of opportunities to engage in training events at the UK ASOC HQ at MOD Boscombe Down and help to develop processes.

The ASOC embeds within Land and Maritime HQs and delivers integration of Joint Land and Air, dynamic management of battlespace and allocation of air assets within the ground commander’s AOR. It is a challenging role, requiring individuals to be experts in both Land and Air operations and to make decisions in a dynamic and high pressured environment. The DPC is at the centre of this, speaking directly to the aircraft to ensure that Air is used efficiently and integrated with other effects such as airborne ISR, rotary assets and Joint Fires.

Applicants should be ex-Regular officer or SNCO controllers (ABM WC, ATM and RN). Personnel would need to complete the Operational Conversion (Op Con) Course which is at present 4 weeks long and runs at least twice a year at MOD Boscombe Down (near Salisbury, Wiltshire). Once qualified in an ASOC Operator role, there would be numerous opportunities throughout the year to support ASOC exercises as well as future OpCon Courses and other training events.'

POC Squadron Leader Hamish McMillan 01980 664481.
6th March 2018 at 5:02 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:139 Characters
Helen's contribution to the search for a new name is Current & Heritage Air Operations Society (you work out the acronym). Richard
6th March 2018 at 10:47 am
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:376 Characters
I strongly support Richard's position; this is not a matter that should be settled by an EGM postal vote, nor is there any need to do so by 1 April. The motion should be put before an EGM or AGM where it can be properly debated and arrangements should be made to ensure that all Full Members who are unable to attend the meeting are able to vote by post or by proxy. Mike
6th March 2018 at 10:30 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3178 Characters
Reflecting on comments so far (but not from a snow drift - we've had very little of the stuff recently on the Black Isle) and re-reading both the newsletter and the Chairman's more recent letter, I realise that an EGM postal vote is pending by 1 April (my apologies for my comment below) and that the motion is 'Should the Association of Fighter Control Officers be renamed the Dowding Association, with an expanded eligibility of membership to include officers from the Air Operations Branch? ' If this goes ahead in this format, I will vote 'no'. I do think this is a matter for a physical meeting (EGM or AGM) where the various arguments can be debated and questions can be asked. Like Nicky & Greg and some others, I see this as 2 separate if related issues. First, is the name, secondly eligibility for membership. Regarding the name, I don't favour 'Dowding' as I have already mentioned but do favour something that will endure further reorganizations so I suggested something 'historical' would be best and and my thoughts now are that it should include the name 'Fighter Controller' in the title. Eligibility has always been the most contentious topic in my experience of the association. Personally, I don't favour opening membership to SNCOs with 'appropriate CQs' as some have suggested because I think this is divisive as I suspect it leans too heavily to the control stream (please correct me if I'm wrong). Certainly in my days as a DC, I relied on my trusty DCA for what was a very challenging scenario (Cold War Buchan averaging 400 QRA interceptions/year) and if we are going invite SNCOs, I'd want to see people of this ilk in the association. The pressing question (or not?) seems to be AOB officers or not? Reading the newsletter, the AOB would appear to consist of a branch with 2 specializations - control & systems. Of the 6 employment roles, 4 of them would be recognisable as available to a pre Ops Support Branch (never liked that one) FC; the 2 that are not are 'Area' &'Terminal' although there have been FCs qualified as Area Controllers in the past. I know that Ops Officer posts were never core to our Branch (ie you were employed in another role first) but then neither were Bloodhound engagement officers and I'm sure there are other posts FCs have filled. I really wouldn't want to see our association be picky about who from the AOB could be eligible for membership but I suppose that is an option. So to summarise this ramble, I don't think a postal EGM vote on a single question is an appropriate way to deal with such a major change especially with an 'in/out' only question covering both name and eligibility. I'd rather see a physical EGM/AGM deal with this (possibly with a postal vote or proxy vote provided there were several options for those who may not be able to attend). I think we should keep our current name, not make a difficult situation worse by pushing for SNCO membership and we should focus on AOB officer eligibility (and I would favour a blanket invitation). Richard
6th March 2018 at 8:49 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:334 Characters
Looks like views are pretty polarised (more shades of Brexit as Mike has alluded to). I'm not sure where the 'decision by 1 April' has come from. If I read Sean's letter correctly, he suggests it will be a matter for a discussion at the AGM - the date for which has yet to be set as far as I'm aware. Richard
4th March 2018 at 10:50 am
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1292 Characters
Mike Good, Colin Nash and Martyn Bettel make some very compelling points and I am in broad agreement with all of them. Indeed, as Martyn makes clear the RAF Branch structure has been through several changes since the formation of the Association but we have not found it necessary to change our ways in response, and I don’t believe there is any need to do so now. Who is to say that there will not be further changes to the branch structure within a few years in response to an SDSR ordered by a new Government? No, I believe it to be in the best interests of the Association to hold true to our founding principles and retain our existing constitution and membership eligibility criteria. However, I would look sympathetically on opening up membership to suitably qualified SNCO FCs; as Martyn says, most of them trained us!
As to changing the name of the Association, I am not keen on “Dowding”, great leader though he was, and would prefer to retain our existing name. We are, after all Fighter Controllers!
I would also want to emphasise that making a hurried decision by 1 April is not only unnecessary but likely not to take into consideration many of the potential consequences of the integration period after 1 April that will last for - possibly - several years!
4th March 2018 at 10:30 am
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:5585 Characters
One of the things about being snowed-in (in Devon for God's sake!) is that you have too much time on your hands to muse about stuff. Then, if you're still snowed-in the following day, you foolishly think you might write these musings down....

Day 2 - still snowed in....

So, in no particular order:-

- Its gone a bit quiet on here hasn't it. Strange, as there are some Fighter Control "big beasts" out there who are not usually backwards in coming forward!
- it's very clear where our Chairman is steering us, although I'm sure he'll protest that he's not. But Sean is a serving member and that might, understandably, colour his view. So does he speak for a unanimous Committee? That's his role, so I would hope so. Nevertheless, it would be nice to have that confirmed - or, indeed, to hear other Committee members' views if there are any. This debate needs to be a well- informed one.

- I'm all for democracy but shouldn't the founding members of the FCA (and I can't claim to be one of them) have a rather weightier voice than most of us in what is to happen to "their" baby? Which, let's remind ourselves, is a private organisation that has no formal ties to the Air Force.

- (Musing particularly on Richard's comments, who was musing on my first comments) It's true that when those same founding fathers wrote the FCA's constitution, amongst the stated aims was, "Unifying and sustaining a spirit of comradeship amongst serving and retired members of the Fighter Control Branch". But, for entirely understandable reasons, it's always been an uphill struggle to recruit serving members. And the two-way street, let's face it, hasn't really worked. Our present situation is absolutely a case in point. Our serving members will have known for a long time about the forthcoming merger of the specialisations. Our own Chairman seems to be a leading light in driving it forward; but I'm guessing most of the retired membership only found out about it very recently - despite the fact that it has major implications for the future of our association. Even now I wonder if we, the retired membership, know enough about the merger to make the decision being asked of us. Shades of the Brexit referendum!

- Talking of our decision, why the great hurry to make it? The 1 April deadline is for the creation of the RAF's new branch - that's their timescale, not ours. Better to take the time to make the right decision rather than to rush into what might be the wrong one. What's the worry? The only one I can possibly see is that the new branch may go ahead and arbitrarily set up their own association on Day 1. As I've already said, that would be my own preference anyway, but I suggest that it's most unlikely to happen! These serving guys have got other priorities - like living their lives and defending the country!! And if our own cadre of serving members elect to leave us and join this unlikely new beast, then so be it - their experience of being in the FCA will help them establish and shape the new association. They can, of course, belong to both if they so wish. I also sincerely hope that, as a precursor organisation, the FCA will have close ties with whatever it is they eventually set up. I'd be very happy to drink with them at a joint "do" - I just don't want to be absorbed by them.

- There's a little devil in the shape of a German General sitting on my left shoulder. He keeps asking me why I'm even getting exercised over this issue given the extremely minor role that membership of the FCA plays in my life! This is because when I arrived at HQ LANDCENT in Heidelberg to take up a post as COMAIRCENT's resident spy - sorry, "liaison officer" - in this army headquarters, COMLANDCENT, my 3-star German host, General Dr Klaus Reinhardt, lent me a book on "Generalship". He joked that this was because I was an Air Force officer and therefore couldn't possibly be expected to know much about such things (though more likely it was because I looked like I needed it) . Anyway, 20 years later I still carry with me one valuable piece of instruction from that gripping little page-turner. It is this. When faced with a decision to be made, start from the reality on the ground - not, in your ignorance, what you think the reality is, nor what, in your naiveté, you might like it to be. "Ground truth" for me and, I would venture, for the vast majority of the ordinary FCA membership, by which I mean those outside of the Committee, is that they check the website every so often to see if anything is happening - which usually it is not (unless somebody has died) - and they might think seriously about going to the Christmas "do" this year. A small band of stalwarts will also keep the Committee company at the Spring gathering/AGM. So, should I really care that much about what happens to the FCA? Probably not Mein General, but the fact is that I do, if only because it's good to know that the people I most associate with a great part of my life are still out there. So I admit it - I'm a lousy General .... jetz geh von meiner verdammten Schulter!

- I bet the website gets rid of all my careful formatting and welds all this into one great paragraph!

- I hope I can get out of here tomorrow before anything else occurs to me ..... I expect you do too!
2nd March 2018 at 1:55 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:32 Characters
Got it. Many thanks Costi.

Mike
2nd March 2018 at 12:14 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:194 Characters
The email updates for the message board should now be fixed. For this that have selected the option to receive the updates you should find this message as an email in your inbox.

Regards

Costi
1st March 2018 at 5:11 pm
PersonMartyn Bettel

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2041 Characters
In 1997 the FC Branch was amalgamated with ATC, Flt Ops, PI and RAF Regiment to form the Ops Spt Branch. We saw no reason then to extend the membership of the FCA to these other disciplines and I see no reason to do so after this latest re-organisation. Furthermore, there was no appetite for an overarching Ops Spt Association then and none of the other branches expressed any desire to join the FCA or form their own similar Associations.

At the risk of being labelled a luddite, as opposed to old and bold, I tend to agree with the points raised by Mike Good and Colin Nash. Additionally while the FCA was created by serving FC officers, I am acutely aware from my time as Chairman in the 90s that the Association only keeps going due to the enthusiasm and efforts of a mainly retired cadre of members, members who will always be Fighter Controllers not "Air Operators". While the creators of the original Association did see the possibility that it could help some with transition to other employment the fact is that, like it or not, the Association's main success as been in keeping former FC colleagues in touch with one another. Dilute the Association with others who do not share our common identity just to boost numbers and you risk throwing the baby out with the bath water.

As to the suggested name change, while Dowding has his place RAF history, it is not an appropriate name for the Association; it is obscure and dated. If we must have a change then Richard Jenner's suggestion of 'Portcullis' has much greater resonance although there may be other suggestions worth considering. However, we were and we are simply Fighter Controllers; lets celebrate it and proudly wear the title.

Finally, I have always been a little uncomfortable with the Association being for officers only and believe that membership should be open those SNCOs who hold the appropriate FC CQs; after all those of us who are now the "old and bold" were often trained by these SNCOs in the first place.

1st March 2018 at 2:21 pm
PersonColin Nash

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1396 Characters
Apologies, another awkward old and bold FC here. I confess I was baffled by the logic of the proposal but perhaps I did not realise that the real purpose and ethos of the FCA was to maintain alignment with whatever the current RAF organisation happens to be, in which case, we have already missed a trick since surely we should currently be called the ABMA. To follow the logic, there are so many military organisations out there who have got it wrong and are terribly past their sell-by date. Starting at the top, The Order of the Garter is in big trouble. I wonder who one writes to in order to get that reformed? On the other hand, if the issue is really reducing membership numbers, I have not seen any facts supporting the bald statement that suitably qualified serving officers will not join or to indicate that this is a pressing problem. In the absence of any data, I see the proposal as being effectively to kill off prematurely the FCA and create a new association to make things nice and tidy. Thus, at the moment, I agree with Mike Good who has got to the nub of the issue clearly and constructively, and I support his recommendations. Two other points: “Is there an Air Operations Branch Officer in the house?“ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it; still, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be since “The Flag” already seems to have been dislodged from the “Masthead”.
1st March 2018 at 2:10 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:191 Characters
Thanks Costi. That would make some sense; the site was unusually slow yesterday afternoon. Thanks for all your efforts. Mike

PS Great to see the Messagde Board is being used properly again.
1st March 2018 at 1:45 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:173 Characters
Hi Mike

I believe the email server was down from Fasthosts, our Server providers. I am awaiting a response to hopefully get the service back up and running.

Regards

Costi
1st March 2018 at 12:46 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Employment Opportunities
Topic: Cyber Risk Manager - Insurance Sector   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:809 Characters
Folks, I am starting a new role with a leading Health Insurance company after Easter and I will need to recruit a number of roles and build a team. I have an opportunity for 1 role within the Cyber risk team that may be of interest to those in the ABM branch. The intent is to take someone just leaving the military and who has good cyber skills. We will then provide the risk management training and allow the person to get commercial experience. The "return of service" period will be small and aims to only cover our initial investment. The role will ideally be based in Brighton to get the close mentoring opportunities but equally, I will consider Staines or Manchester as the base. If anyone is interested then they should contact me via teallrisk@btopenworld.com.

Kind regards
Alastair
1st March 2018 at 12:33 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:642 Characters
When I watch the Remembrance service at the Royal Albert Hall or the Remembrance Day parade past the Cenotaph, the stories that are told are of bravery, about the deeds of those that served the Country and their experiences as an air gunner, pilot, soldier, sailor etc. The focus is on the actions and their service and rank does not play into the equation when those stories are re-told. By the same token, our past is not complete unless we recognise all ranks that have taken part in our rich history and I endorse Mike's suggestion below that we should open up the Association to NCOs as well. - Great discussion thread by the way.
1st March 2018 at 12:23 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1011 Characters
I want to pick up on Stuart's DNA point in so far as that one of the reasons I think the evolution of the RAFFCA is a good idea is that the future generations will be able to look back and be able to say "our Association can trace its roots back to the Battle of Britain". They will also be able to say that the Fighter Control legacy included looking to the future generations rather than letting things die and be forgotten.

As for the future name of the Association then has the Committee considered what a great marketing opportunity this might be? Why not create a naming competition open only to serving members of the future branch to name our Association in a way that recognises all aspects of its new membership? The "old and bold" can judge the entries and the winner gets Life membership. In a single stroke we market our existence to all the new potential members, they feel they have a say in its future and that the "old and bold" are open to new ideas.
1st March 2018 at 10:32 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:548 Characters
This is by way of a 'holding response' mainly to say that I think it's very enlivening that the Fighter Control specialisation 'DNA' continues to help shape new generations of air operations skills, culture and esprit de corps. I want to put more thought into my contribution to the way ahead before I commit it to these (excellent, by the way Costi) pages which already bear some valuable comments. In the meantime, many thanks and well done to the Committee for facilitating a discussion on the future of the Association.
1st March 2018 at 9:31 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1830 Characters
Responding to some of Mike's points, I remember the meeting held at West Drayton in the mid- '80s when the formation of the FCA was mooted. I'm pretty sure that everyone there was a serving officer and when the association formed, there was a predominance of serving officers. That balance has changed over the years as original members have retired and the recruitment of serving officers has been a bit slow at times. My point here is that the association was never supposed to be a retired officers club. While the founders had some grandiose ideas about providing a networking system for those looking for work after leaving the service and were keen to promote the history of the branch (taken on by Tim very effectively in the last 10 years or so) most of us were more interested in the social aspects - meeting up with colleagues & former colleagues over a few beers. If we don't attract new members, that social aspect will die out. It won't get down to the last man standing because the critical mass to run the association and make social events viable is much greater than just one - what the number is is a bit of a guess but I suspect once membership dwindles below 100, things start to stop. So rather than turn-up to a largely empty room to see the few friends who are still around, I'd rather meet them in a vibrant crowd even if the majority is unknown to me and me to them. I'm an inactive member of RAFA and a few other service related 'clubs' but for me the FCA is the only real contact I have with the RAF and I'd like to maintain some contact with serving officers as well as old colleagues. I think if I was joining-up now, I'd feel excited about the AOB and I suspect many of the values that FCs hold dear will pass on to this new branch. Richard
28th February 2018 at 3:51 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:256 Characters
Costi

Still not quite right. I have selected notifications but they seem to have dried up. I haven't been notified of the last two posts, those by Bob Daisley and Mike Good, both posted since my last message to you. Sorry to keep bothering you.

Mike
28th February 2018 at 1:58 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:3724 Characters
Damn!... it was all going so well, then along comes one of the "old and bold" to spoil the happy consensus!
Up until 1 Feb 07, the Royal Green Jackets, the Light Infantry, the Devon and Dorset Light Infantry, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and the Rifle Volunteers (TA) all had regimental associations. On 1 Feb 07, these regiments were merged to form a single new regiment - The Rifles - and, on the same date, The Rifles Association was formed, open to all members of the new regiment. The former regimental associations were not changed in any way. They still operate successfully today. Not a lot happens in the Rifles Association as yet - but it will over time as those who have only known the new regiment fill its membership. Members of the precursor associations can also join the Rifles Association if they wish (though few do for understandable reasons) but members of the new regiment can not retrospectively join one of the precursor associations unless they were already qualified to do so before the merger. (As a resident of Devon, I can confirm that there would be an uprising if an ex-RGJ - but latterly of The Rifles - tried to join the Devon and Dorsets Association! But he would very much be welcomed as a guest who has a present connection to their proud past).
Which brings us to our own impending merger. As far as I'm aware, ex-military Air Traffic and Flt Ops personnel have not chosen to form associations of their own, but that's hardly our fault. I'm proud to have been a Fighter Controller and I'm proud of our unique heritage. I would therefore like to continue to belong to an association formed by Fighter Controllers, for Fighter Controllers.
By now you will probably have anticipated that I favour the formation of a new Air Operations Association, coincident with the standing-up of the new branch, rather than any diffusion or dilution of our own. The corollary, of course, is that, eventually (like The Rifles' precursor associations), we will inevitably cease to exist. Well, so be it - albeit with only my very scant knowledge of the new branch structure, it seems there will be no more FC/ABMs anyway (either that or everybody will be one - I'm not sure! Either way, it won't be an animal that the present core membership would recognise). But, hopefully, by then the Air Operations Association will have matured and, like The Rifles Association, will carry forward the legacy of its precursors. So my feeling is, let's keep it pure and eventually go the way of the Battle of Britain Pilots Association - or, indeed, www.lightningpilots.com, which I thoroughly recommend and which might prove an alternative model for those of us "old and bold", or, to quote the Chairman, "... the core retired membership who would not relate to the new association and drift away".
Except Fighter Controllers don't drift - they scramble!

PS Why all this emphasis on the opinions of those currently serving? They can join us (providing they qualify), or not, as they wish but the serving already have an association to keep in touch and socialise - it's called "The RAF". The FCA is basically an old comrades association with a heritage to protect and promote.
PPS "The Dowding Association!?" That's not going to mean much to anybody who's not a dyed-in-the-wool air defender? (Sorry if that was one of yours Tim - I know you're a huge fan!). If we're going to make any changes at all to our association, how about opening it up to NCO CQ holders?
PPPS Isn't it nice to see the message board being used!



28th February 2018 at 12:46 pm
PersonRobert Daisley

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:918 Characters
Excellent letter from Sean. I particularly, agree with Richard, Greg and Nicky. Firstly, separate votes would seem to be a good idea. Secondly, we need to evolve and I would endorse embracing anyone that wants to join. If a potential member isn't interested in our heritage they won't want to join anyway, so new members should be made to feel welcome.

On a cautionary note, I was once a keen member of the Ad Astrian Cricket Club. Whilst serving on the Committee I was part of a drive to get the Club to change (along with Ian Walkerdine and others) because it could not go on with its historically closed shop attitude to new members, especially 'other ranks'. It eventually changed but it was too late - the ship had already sailed as it were. The Ad Astrians are only just clinging on now (down from 14 fixtures a season to 3 if they are lucky), so that should be a lesson for us. RD
27th February 2018 at 3:16 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1410 Characters
Having read Sean's letter carefully and viewed posts to date, I think we do need to move forward in a way that will permit new members from 1 April onward who are not already eligible for FCA membership. While it might be possible, but probably not that practical, to be picky and only accept AOB members who have a qualification that 'we' would recognise as described in our current constitution, I doubt that this would lead to a healthy long term association. So I would come down on the side that wants to open eligibility to all future AOB officers (by 'future' I think it could be a step too far to open membership to retired officers of other branches that will be subsumed in to the AOB on 1 April and by 'officers' I mean that literally).
The name will be a difficult subject. I can see some attraction to a historical name in away as it is future proof when (not if) the RAF decides on a further reorganization. I'm not sold on the 'Dowding Association' though as it does seem rather narrowly focused. I agree with Nicky that the 2 subjects (eligibility & name) should be separated and while eligibility may be an in/out vote, the name may need to be a poll with choices. I trying to think of a name that might work. How about the 'Portcullis Association' ? Too medieval? Now for the big question - should I buy a new FCA tie? Richard
27th February 2018 at 1:20 pm
PersonJoseph Marsden

Category: Joke Corner
Topic: IDLE THOUGHTS:   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1375 Characters
• Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?
• What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?
• If poison expires is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
• Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?
• Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?
• Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.
• Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.
• The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims".
• Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, and scissors is just as hard as trying to win.
• 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
• Your future self is watching you right now through memories.
• The doctors that told Stephen Hawking he had two years to live in 1953 are probably dead.
• If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them.
• Many animals probably need glasses, but nobody knows it.
• If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before.
• If 2/2/22 falls on a Tuesday, we'll just call it "2's Day". (It does fall on a Tuesday)
27th February 2018 at 1:10 pm
PersonJoseph Marsden

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:533 Characters
As a member of several Squadron Associations I have seen them die as they come to the point, after a number of years post disbandment that they run out of new members. This happened with 85 Squadron which celebrated its centenary last year with a dissolution of the Association (after a very good lunch of course). If we are not to go the same way we must embrace the change and all it entails.
I must agree with the others that 'The Dowding Association' sounds a little parochial and may not appeal to the new associates.
27th February 2018 at 12:26 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Squadron Leader Ken Kime   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:203 Characters
Kevin Pellat has advised that Ken's funeral will be on 17th April at 1300 at St Pauls Church, East Harling, Norwich. He will be attending to represent SSAFA and the Association.

Grant

Secretary
27th February 2018 at 12:01 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:850 Characters
The advertisement to which Mike Good refers is here
https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/roles/roles-finder/air-operations-support/aerospace-battle-manager/.

It clearly states "You should be aware that the RAF intends to merge ATC, ABM and Flt Ops into a single branch entitled the Air Operations Branch. This change is expected to occur in Apr 2018. Further information regarding this change will be available in the near future; in the interim, applications for ATC, ABM and Flt Ops should be submitted as usual, since these specialisations will remain largely unchanged within the new branch".

If those officers of the new branch employed on ABM duties have achieved an ASACS CQ I fail to see any need to modify the Association's membership eligibility criteria to ensure that there will be new members coming along in the future.
26th February 2018 at 9:45 pm
PersonGregory Hammond

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:518 Characters
Membership of an organisation with a future will be more fun than being part of a dwindling band of the old and bold. I therefore agree with others that the Association should expand its remit to include the whole of the proposed Air Operations Branch. I would also prefer a simple, descriptive name (Association of RAF Air Operations Officers) to a name whose identity is not readily apparent (eg Dowding Association). The idea of separating the votes on the constitution and the name strikes me as being sensible.
26th February 2018 at 7:54 pm
PersonCraige Curry

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:888 Characters
Good evening all. I agree that in the interests of continued membership growth and homage to all those before us that we need to embrace the merger. I like the Downing Association but agree that it could alienate our new Branch members and that the proposed title may not be obvious to the wider community over the longer term. Simplicity as the Ops Branch Association is perhap too simple as well. Neither FC’s/ABMers or ATCers could do their job without recognition being given to Sir Robert Watson-Watt so Perhaps something along those lines could be considered as an option? I believe RWW also worked within the Met Office, which is a very tenuous link to Flt Ops support? I agree that our constitution should emphasise key aspects of our history that needs to be continued, as well as including key points from the merging arms as part of their heritage too.
Regards - Craige
26th February 2018 at 5:57 pm
PersonMike Good

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:679 Characters
Can anybody educate me - will there still be an animal called an ABM within this new Air Operations Branch? I ask because a) I can't find any information about it anywhere (grateful for any pointers) and b) The recruiting websites for the current 3 specialisations all say "...... Applications for ATC, ABM and Flt Ops should be submitted as usual, since these specialisations will remain largely unchanged within the new Branch". Or are they all going to be called "AOB"s or some such and move seamlessly between what are now 3 separate specialisations throughout their careers. I would need the answer to that question before knowing how to respond.
26th February 2018 at 5:56 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:319 Characters
Posting on behalf of John Hyde and Clive Gibson.

John expressed concern about "what the new Association would be called".
Clive commented that there is a significant number of SNCO holding CQ in the ABM, ATM and Flight Ops branches and asked if the 'new' Association would be open to all?

Grant

26th February 2018 at 5:01 pm
PersonCal Lowey

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1007 Characters
I wholeheartedly support the proposal to broaden the membership of the Association to include the Flight Operations and Air Traffic Control officers.

Personally, I would prefer ‘The Association of Royal Air Force Air Operations Officers’ as a title, rather than ‘The Dowding Association’, for the following reasons:

- Potential to be viewed as an Air Defence focused / biased organisation - Risk to recruiting the (majority) of ATC / Ops Officers who haven’t worked in Air Defence.

- Other organisations (e.g. foreign equivalents with whom we may wish to engage) might not understand the Association’s membership (except perhaps the Germans...).

- We would end up writing / saying ‘The Dowding Association... you know, the Association of the Air Operations Officers?’

- Though Dowding is undoubtedly an important figure in the history of our branches and Service... he wasn’t an Air Operations Officer!

I look forward to the inaugural social function of the broader Association!

Cal
26th February 2018 at 3:38 pm
PersonPeter Scott

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:647 Characters
I am very much in favour of expanding our mandate and criteria to include the new Air Operations Branch; I feel it is the only way to prolong the life of the current FCA as well as expanding the membership. However, I'm think that the proposed name of the Dowding Association does not specifically reflect who we are, either now or in the future. Perhaps just replacing 'Fighter Control' with 'Air Operations' might work: The Association of RAF Air Operations Officers.
I also agree with Nicky Loveday's comment that there should be separate votes for expanding the eligibility and the new name for the Association.
26th February 2018 at 3:20 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:176 Characters
I agree with Nicky. The vote should be in two parts, the first concerning the change of membership eligibility criteria and the second on change of the association's name.
26th February 2018 at 3:13 pm
PersonNicky Loveday

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1044 Characters
Personally I very much like the idea of expanding our mandate and eligibility criteria to include personnel from the new Air Operations Branch.

I am far less keen on the proposal to rename the Association to be the Dowding Association and feel if we are going to embrace the new paradigm, we should do it whole-heartedly and I feel that 'Dowding' is perhaps too parochial and too historical for what we could achieve going forward.

Sadly I probably don't have any helpful suggestions for a new Association name at this time but I do think we (current and future members) would all associate with terms such as Aerospace, Battlespace Management, Control and Systems, Air Operations as they form the key elements of historical, current and future roles and terminology. Association of RAF Battlespace Management Operators, Association of RAF Control and Systems Operators etc etc

I would therefore like to see any vote split so that people can vote separately on expanding the eligibility and the new name for any Association.
26th February 2018 at 3:03 pm
PersonAlastair Allison

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:602 Characters
I think this is a sound idea and it would enable our heritage to be preserved in the long term rather than letting it decline to an inevitable death. I like the idea of providing a support network to those in transition to industry and would be more than willing to help in that regard as I already help ANY service personnel who seek me out via social media and the Officers Association. As for the risk expressed by some in the market research that cliques may form, I am of the view that there is more opportunity to avoid that risk with the extended membership. Extending the mandate gets my vote.
26th February 2018 at 3:00 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:212 Characters
Costi

Further to my last, I am getting two notifications for each new Topic/post. I'm sure you can thin them out! Other than that, the new functionality is working well. Many thanks for your efforts.

Mike
26th February 2018 at 1:45 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Association Constitution & Policy - Discussion & Polls
Topic: Change Of Association Mandate Discussions   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:585 Characters
Dear Association member,

A letter from Sean O'Connor, our Chairman should have reached your email 'In Box'. Please take time to read this letter, that sets out a range of possible future choices for our Association.

Use this area of the Message Board to send your comments to Sean. He and Tim Willbond will act as mediators in respect of any comments received and will collate a consensus from contributions received.

Unless your comments are especially private or controversial, please do not send emails directly to Sean.

Kind regards

Grant Grafton
Secretary
19th February 2018 at 10:45 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Squadron Leader Ken Kime   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:349 Characters
Kevin Pellatt has notified me of the passing of Sqn Ldr Ken Kime some days ago. He moved to Norfolk about a year ago to be nearer his daughter Alison. He has been a very poorly man for some time. Alison tells me that the funeral will likely be held on 16th or 17th April. I will publish full details when they are known.

Grant Grafton
Secretary
29th January 2018 at 11:14 am
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:140 Characters
Hi Costi

Thank you very much indeed for moving so swiftly to provide this new functionality. I am very impressed and very grateful.

Mike

28th January 2018 at 9:55 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:752 Characters
Dear FCA Member,

There is an option available on the web site for you to turn-on email notifications for all new Topics / Posts that have been added to the message board. In order for you to receive email alerts you can turn it on wither by clicking the alert bar at the top of the Message Board Home Page, or go to the Membership area within your profile.

You will receive an email stating that you have enabled the functionality. If you would like to cease the email alerts then simply click the same bar again and you should again receive an email stating you have disabled the alerts.

If you have any issues, please don't hesitate to contact me on my email address by selecting my picture on the Committee page.

Regards

Costi
Web Manager
22nd January 2018 at 9:16 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Employment Opportunities
Topic: RAF ADRM - Manager   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1313 Characters
Vacancy – Manager, RAF Air Defence Radar Museum (ADRM), RRH Neatishead, Norfolk


The position of Manager for the RAF ADRM, RRH Neatishead, Norfolk, will become vacant shortly. It is a salaried post, on a four day a week basis, managing a team of enthusiastic volunteers. Some are ex-Forces but others are local people with a civilian background and an admirable enthusiasm for the Museum and its objectives.

More details can be found at:

www.radarmuseum.co.uk/

Overall management is by a Board of Trustees to whom the Manager is responsible. This is comprised of volunteers, from both military and civilian backgrounds, with a wide range of in-depth skills and experience. These include legal, engineering, marketing, business and various elements of the RAF.

The Museum was founded some years ago and is now a self-supporting charity. The main activity is to provide an attractive place of both interest and knowledge for the locals and visitors to Norfolk. This Winter it is undergoing a substantial change of layout and reconstruction.

It is early days yet (Jan 2018) so full details have not been fixed and the position has not been openly promulgated. However, if you are interested and would like to discuss the opportunity further, please contact:

Dave Lowry (ADRM Trustee): 01536 481872
8th January 2018 at 9:46 am
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Announcements
Topic: RAF Centenary Celebrations In Spain   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:374 Characters
Hello All,

You will also be able to search for Phelpsy by clicking on the 'Membership' tab on the left-hand menu and type in his surname. When you see his profile details, click on the email icon that is next to his name and this will load up your email client with his email address that is registered in the 'to' field.

Regards

Costi

The Webmanager
8th January 2018 at 9:43 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: RAF Centenary Celebrations In Spain   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:769 Characters
Dear Member,

Following on from my email asking for bids for places at the Founders Day Service at St Clement Danes on 1st April 2018, I have received the following from Darren Phelps:

‘Happy New Year, I'm not sure if any of the membership live in Spain. Those of us based at the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon (Madrid) are having a dinner to celebrate the 100 year anniversary on 7 Apr 18.

Four of us are Fighter Controllers and we have 2 FS from TG12 here. We would love to see any expats from Branch or Trade who wish to attend.’

Please use me as a point of contact.

Regards

Phelpsy

phelpsy7@gmail.com’

Please reply directly to Darren by email about attendance at this event in Spain.

Kind regards

Grant

Grant Grafton | Secretary
17th December 2017 at 6:50 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jack Haines   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:997 Characters
Now you've demoted him to a Cdr! I'm very sorry to hear about Jack, I've some great memories of him. I first met him when I was AD3 in HQRAFG and he came down to the 'sheep dip' (basement offices where the AD guys beavered away) to see AD1 but he was busy so this wg cdr decided to have a chat with me. Standing with his back to the wall, he was carefully moving all the pins on my map of the IGB - it took me weeks to gets the LARS units back where they belonged. Much later on when he was an Air Cdre and AOSNI/OC Leuchars, I was at Buchan and he and Lesley came for a pleasant visit which was then reciprocated. The G&Ts were a bit OTT and Helen signalled for more tonic - this was misinterpreted as more gin and around 3 am she just made it to the loo for a prolonged technicolour yawning episode which must have been audible over the whole house. Yours truly got to clear up but not a word of it was mentioned at breakfast. Great memories but sad news.

Richard
16th December 2017 at 2:33 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jack Haines   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:358 Characters
First my apologies for demoting Jack. to Group Captain.

As a Group Captain Jack Haines commanded RAF Neatishead in the early '90's. Sadly, he passed away a few days ago, having suffered from Alzheimer's for some time. He is survived by his wife, Lesley.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Grant Grafton
Secretary


22nd November 2017 at 8:30 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Malcolm (Junior) Little   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:211 Characters
Details of Malcolm's cremation service are as follows: Surrey and Sussex Crematorium ,Crawley at 11.30am on 4th December and afterwards at South Lodge Hotel, Lower Beeding, Horsham.

Grant Grafton
Secretary
20th November 2017 at 4:35 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Malcolm (Junior) Little   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:333 Characters
I have just been passed the sad news that after a relatively long illness, Gp Capt Malcolm (Junior) Little died on Tue 14th Nov '17. His funeral service is planned in the Horsham area, on 4th Dec. There are no other details at present. As soon as I have amplification, more information will be added.

Grant Grafton
Secretary
11th November 2017 at 2:32 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Patricia (Trish) Mantell   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:572 Characters
Sarah Mantell, Trish's daughter, has notified us that her mother passed away peacefully at home on Friday 3rd Nov 2017. Trish was a leading light amongst that amazing group of Dowding 'Veterans' to whom we owe our heritage. Sarah has advised that "A Thanksgiving Service is being held on Friday 1st December 2017, 2p.m., at St. Peter's Church. Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 3HS and any of your members of the Association would be most welcome to join us to celebrate our mother's long and interesting life."

Grant Grafton
Secretary

8th November 2017 at 1:45 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Wg Cdr George Crowhurst   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:485 Characters
This message was recently received from Sylvia Crowhurst. "It is with great sadness I write to let you know that Wing Commander George Crowhurst, age 78 died at home, in St. Petersburgh, Florida on Wednesday November 1st, 2017."

A Life Tribute page has been created for George to make it easy to share your memories and to view George's obituary and service information.

http://www.andersonmcqueen.com/obituaries/George-Crowhurst/#!/Obituary

Grant Grafton
Secretary
10th October 2017 at 8:11 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Elspeth Henderson MM   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:48 Characters
Thanks Costi, 4 photos emailed. Regards, Richard
8th October 2017 at 6:30 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Elspeth Henderson MM   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:303 Characters
Hi Richard,

Unfortunately there are no means to upload photos to the message board. If you would like to send me the photos to webmanager@raffca.org.uk with the associated information I can publish this as an article in which all FCA Members will be able to view when they log on.

Regards

Costi
8th October 2017 at 5:00 pm
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Elspeth Henderson MM   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:362 Characters
There is a nice display in the Scottish Museum of Flight at East Fortune about Elspeth Henderson who was one of 3 WAAFs plotters awarded the Military Medal for staying at their post in an air raid on Biggin Hill on 1 September 1940 when the Sector Ops Room was hit. I have photos of the display but I can't seem to find away of inserting them???

Richard


7th October 2017 at 3:35 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:255 Characters
Hi All,

I have made some changes to the website, it would be really useful to get some feedback on it, either by leaving comments on this message board, or please feel free to send them to me at my email address: webmanager@raffca.org.uk.

Regards

Costi
19th September 2017 at 11:31 am
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Association Representation At The Abbey   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:929 Characters
Our Association was represented by a party of 30 at the Battle of Britain Service at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 17 September 2017. This included three of our Veterans, Joan Potts, Kathleen McLeod and Kate Orchard. Kate had travelled from Cornwall. All have been in contact subsequently to say how much they enjoyed the event. All three met the Prince of Wales and Camilla at the following Reception. Our Patron, Lord and Lady Dowding were in attendance but had to leave after the service due to another commitment. I did, however, have a short conversation with them. Unfortunately, Sidney Wood, a regular Veteran attendee at our events, had to cancel due to health. As he comes from Ballymena we can only admire his regular support at our functions. The Flypast by a Spitfire and Hurricane was enjoyed by all from the Dean's Yard.

Overall, it was a successful, very well organised and memorable occasion.

Dave Lowry
1st September 2017 at 9:21 pm
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Initative At The ADRM Neatishead   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:958 Characters
There is much work going on at the ADRM both to the buildings and the development of new initiatives. One such is the opening up of a new room and the plan to have exhibitions, not necessarily directly applicable to the Museum, to pull in people who may not consider visiting. The aim is to raise the awareness in the area that the ADRM exists and is a place of interest. As a small business we need footfall to prosper.

The first Exhibition is to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution and will have propaganda posters and art by two contemporary Russian artists. It will open from Tuesday 3rd October to Tuesday 31st October. This is early notice so it isn't on our website as yet. Unfortunately, I cannot find a way of adding a .jpg copy of our advertising poster to this message board. If anyone can help with guidance, I would be grateful.

The Exhibition is free but Museum Admission charges apply.

Dave Lowry
ADRM Trustee
23rd August 2017 at 8:51 pm
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Radio Norfolk Visit To The RAF ADRM   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:879 Characters
Radio Norfolk visited the ADRM at RRH Neatishead today and broadcast their visit. A recording can be heard at:

https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/7UZM5pokh8

It is a good bit of publicity and should be very helpful. The ADRM is a small business and must attract paying visitors to survive. We have recently engaged a new manager, Greg Hayman, who is certainly making a good and positive difference. You will hear him on the recording. He comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge.

While the broadcast was very well and professionally done, I have made a constructive criticism for the benefit of other Committee Members. It is rather light on the Command and Control aspects of the SOC/CRC which, in reality, was the whole reason for it's existence. I think a better balance is required. On the positive side, it's a great piece it of positive publicity.
12th August 2017 at 10:06 am
PersonTimothy Willbond

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Ginger Lacey   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:290 Characters
Just come across this post. I served with Ginger Lacey at Patrington and was Mr Vice at his dinning out night from the RAF. By strange coincidence I was searching for some material from the past only a couple of weeks ago and came across the menu from the evening which he had signed.

25th July 2017 at 10:34 pm
PersonGerald Mickleburgh

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Ginger Lacey   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:371 Characters
I served with Ginger (Ted) at Leeming on 228 OCU Mosquito NF 35s as both "Adj" and Chief Controller! He was a remarkable character with a great sense of humour and solid faith in his young controllers. Our kit was a mobile Type 15 Convoy stuck at the end of the runway! His wife and mine were friends at Wattisham while serving with ADGESST.
GHM 1943 to 1985
23rd July 2017 at 8:11 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Ginger Lacey   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:491 Characters
Interesting article on Ginger Lacey:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-40660077

It doesn't mention though that he stayed in the RAF for a full career retiring as a squadron leader fighter controller in 1972. I just missed serving with him at Patrington by a few months but I'm sure there are plenty of members who will have had the experience. Years later while at Staxton Wold, Phil Brooks took flying lessons with him which seemed to have worked out OK.

Richard
22nd July 2017 at 7:33 pm
PersonKate Brophy

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Martin Jago   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:153 Characters
Link to the just giving page for the remembrance stone.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/martinjagorememberance?utm_id=2&utm_term=kMKyezDEv
22nd July 2017 at 8:48 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Martin Jago   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:1027 Characters
2 Facebook notices:

From RAF Spadeadam:

Mr Martin Jago
With the kind permission of his family, Royal Air Force Spadeadam sincerely regrets to announce the death of Mr Martin Jago.
Mr Jago was a Threat Director at Royal Air Force Spadeadam who joined the Civil Service in June 2015 following a distinguished career in the Royal Air Force, retiring as a Squadron Leader in the Aerospace Battle Management branch.
All of Martin's colleagues and friends at Spadeadam pass on their sincere condolences to his wife Julie and their sons.

From Nick Loveday:

To all of you who knew Sqn Ldr Martin Jago and wish to pay your respects, his funeral will take place on Tuesday 8th August, 1230 at Colchester Crematorium, Mersea Rd, CO2 8RU.
His family have respectfully asked those who attend not to bring flowers, but instead, make a donation to the Stroke Foundation. I am told a 'Just Giving' fund raising page is being set up to also raise money for a remembrance stone at the National Memorial Arboretum.
18th July 2017 at 7:50 pm
PersonAndrew Jonathon Wilkins

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Martin Jago   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:257 Characters
Just heard from Paul Tuite that Martin Jago died in the last few days. I know that he suffered a pretty severe stroke 2 or 3 years ago but had heard that he was making a slow recovery. I am sure someone will post more news when it's known. Wilks sends.
6th July 2017 at 8:39 pm
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:126 Characters
Michael

Could you provide me the link to the website and I will publish it online here for our members.

Regards

Costi
6th July 2017 at 12:04 pm
PersonMichael Clarke

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:100 Characters
Jayne's obituary is in today's edition of the Daily Telegraph. It can be accessed on-line.
28th June 2017 at 8:19 am
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Ted Ward   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:124 Characters
I knew Ted when I was at HQ 11Gp in the 80s and can only agree with all the comments below. I was very sad to hear the news.
27th June 2017 at 5:38 pm
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Visit To UK By Penny Smith (Nee Wild)   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:796 Characters
Penny, with her husband, Frank, will be visiting the UK for a book signing at Duxford. The book is by Richard Pike and titled 'Phantom Boys 2'. There is a chapter in it covering Penny's experiences at RAF Neatishead and on the QWI Course.

The signing will be at Duxford commencing at 1000 on Saturday 8 July and finishing sometime in the afternoon. If any of the generation of Fighter Controllers who remember Penny (my generation) and have booked to go to Duxford on that day I'm sure she will be delighted to see you. I will be there.

Other events are organised for Penny including a visit to the LPG at Bruntingthorpe to see the two F6s and the F3. We may be able to get one of the F6s running. She'll also be meeting her QWI instructor, John Ward.

Dave Lowry
27th June 2017 at 2:48 pm
PersonDavid Lowry

Category: General Discussions
Topic: Bawdsey Radar Trust   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2029 Characters
On Saturday 24 June I attended the joint event held by the Bawdsey Reunion Association and the Bawdsey Radar Trust. Like last year it was held in the Felixstowe Sailing Club and attended by about 20 members made up of both organisations. It was a very enjoyable gathering and the catering by the club was very good. It was also held at the Sailing Club last year at very short notice. Formally, it was always held at the Manor.

For those who are not aware, the brief history is as follows. Bawdsey Manor, location for the School of Fighter Control as well as an SOC/CRC was sold by the RAF a few decades ago to a Language School. The relationship between the School and our two organisations, BRA and BRT, was excellent hence the Manor was used as a location for the yearly reunions. The events were a success and the catering at the Manor also very good. The School had modified the building but certainly not spoiled it and it was in good repair. Unfortunately, the Language School closed down last year hence the use of the sailing club.

The worry has been that this event would have severed our last contact with the Manor which is held in deep affection by most, if not all, who served there. Although we, at the FCA, made valiant efforts to get the National Trust interested we did not succeed. Recently, the Manor was purchased by PGL. They are a long established Outward Bound training organisation with a very good reputation. To cut a long story short, our organisations have been meeting with the manager of the 'New' Bawdsey who, with the support of his head office, wish to maintain the long relationship. Almost by 'return of post' they have agreed and pencilled in 2 Jun 2018 for our next gathering. In anyone's view, this is a great 'SUCCESS' and, hopefully, our links with the Manor will continue into the foreseeable future.

The renovation of the Transmitter Block is almost complete. There will be a 'soft' opening as a try out and then the formal opening.
26th June 2017 at 10:49 pm
PersonStewart Dorward

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Ted Ward   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:265 Characters
Ted's funeral service will be at 1100 on the 4th of July. It will be held at Greenacres, Heatherley Wood, Grayshott Road, East Hampshire GU35 8LA. The service and internment will be followed by light refreshments at the Fox and Pelican pub in Grayshott village
26th June 2017 at 2:38 pm
PersonStuart McCullouch

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Ted Ward   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:192 Characters
Ted gave full value to the Fighter Control Branch and got full value from life. I took over from him as GE5 at the main building and much appreciated his impish sense of humour. So long Ted.
21st June 2017 at 9:22 am
PersonPaul Costigan

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:437 Characters
Hi Stu,

This problem should be resolved as you are allowed to edit up to the 2000 character limit. If there any other issues with this, please leave me another post.

You will also notice that you are able to edit & delete your own posts should you feel the need to. The header of your post will be green also to indicate which ones you have posted to the Topic. The other headers will be grey in colour.

Regards

Costi

21st June 2017 at 9:00 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:305 Characters
My post below should have referred to 'my post below'. I couldn't amend my post below because of another snag - when you elect to edit a post, all you can do is delete characters (not add any). I can confirm also that the number of characters you are allowed to enter in edit mode is 100.
21st June 2017 at 8:53 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:754 Characters
Further to my post above, Costi has asked that I post here a couple of snags/suggestions that I reported to him. He would like others to add their own so that he has a list of action items in one place.

The ones I told him about are:

1. I had occasion to edit the first version of the post above but found that in the editing mode, the number of characters I was allowed to enter was far fewer than the 2000 allowed for an original post (otherwise my post above would have been more effusive about the great job I think that he and Grant have done!)

2. On the old website, one could elect to be notified when posts were made to boards that one wanted to follow but that is not available on the new site. Costi is looking into implementing it.
20th June 2017 at 9:07 am
PersonStuart McCullouch

Category: General Discussions
Topic: New Website   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:95 Characters
Well done Costi and Grant. It is a great improvement. I hope it grows to support Air Ops idc
20th June 2017 at 8:07 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Ted Ward   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:460 Characters
Ted was a huge character with massive presence. I remember my first chat with him sitting on a bench over looking the Thames outside MOD. I was there to see him officially to be debriefed after my tour at Nieuw Milligen but we bumped in to each other on the steps of Main Building and decided the fresh air was preferable to the stuffy office. Years later I found myself interviewing him when he applied for an RO post at the SFC. I am sorry to read this news.
17th June 2017 at 7:15 pm
PersonMartyn Bettel

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Ted Ward   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:672 Characters
As a young sqn ldr I was on Ted's Ops GE 2 team in MoD in the early 80s. It was a pleasure to work for an officer who was seldom ruffled despite all the pressures that were placed upon us at that time.

Our paths regularly crossed over the years but my fondest memories will be those from Hadwins Shoot in Northumberland and the dreaded end of shoot dinners around the county which, despite his illness, he was determined to attend and "enjoy to the full" with the rest of us!

Ted bore his illness bravely and not without humour. The Branch is a much poorer place for his passing.

Our thoughts are, of course, with Carol and the family.





17th June 2017 at 11:32 am
PersonMalcolm Crayford

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Ted Ward   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:260 Characters
Ted Ward was my boss, mentor and friend and a huge influence on me during my formative years at Buchan in the early 80s and later at the SFC and Boulmer. Like many in our community, I owe him a great deal and sadly another ex-Boulmer Stn Cdr no longer with us.
16th June 2017 at 10:37 am
PersonStewart Dorward

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Gp Capt Ted Ward   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:400 Characters
It is with the deepest regret that I inform you of the death of Ted Ward. Known to almost all of you, Ted served in the Branch for three decades, as OC Boulmer and the School of Fighter Control among other jobs. He passed away yesterday evening at Guildford hospital after a long illness, bravely borne. I will post further details regarding funeral arrangements on this page when they become known.
10th June 2017 at 9:13 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: General Announcements
Topic: Chapel Of Rembrance - RAF Biggin Hill   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:667 Characters
Dear Member,

The following note has been received from Norry Bell, seeking your support for a petition aimed at preventing significant changes to the Chapel of Remembrance at RAF Biggin Hill.

You can read more and sign the petition here:

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-biggin-hill-st-george-s-raf-chapel-of-remembrance

He also asks that those who are able to do so to take a moment to share the petition with others. It's really easy ? all you need to do is forward this email or share this link on Facebook or Twitter:

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-biggin-hill-st-george-s-raf-chapel-of-remembrance

Grant Grafton
Secretary
8th June 2017 at 4:24 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Arrangements For Wake - Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:219 Characters
Our President has asked for the following information to be posted.

"The Wake for family and friends of Jayne will take place at the RAF Club immediately following the Service."

Grant Grafton
Secretary
6th June 2017 at 5:06 pm
PersonMike Greatorex

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:186 Characters
Simply stunned by this news. Jayne was a remarkable woman, so much talent and a delightful person to be around.

Deeply saddened - my sympathies to all her family and close friends.
5th June 2017 at 1:31 pm
PersonAileen Ronaldson

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:266 Characters
Knew that Jayne was very ill from the FCA Christmas gathering but the news still comes as a shock. I got to know her when at Bentley Priory where we often put the world to rights whilst sharing a few bottles of red wine. An amazing lady who will be greatly missed.
5th June 2017 at 1:11 pm
PersonKevin Pellatt

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:29 Characters
Really sad to hear this news.
2nd June 2017 at 12:31 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Funeral Service For Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:2018 Characters
A funeral service for Air Cdre Jayne Millington MA, MA(Oxon), FRAeS, FCMI, RAF, will be held at St Clement Danes, Strand, London WC2R 1DH at 1400 on Mon 19 Jun 17.

FCA Members who knew Air Cdre Millington are very welcome to attend the service and are requested to be seated by 1350. Dress for the funeral service for military personnel is No 1 SD (or single Service equivalent) with medals. At the request of the family, black armbands are not to be worn. Transport from RAF High Wycombe for service personnel is available and personnel are requested to contact the RAF High Wycombe Stn Adjutant or SWO (Fg Off Palfrey or Warrant Officer Marshall) on MOD telephone: 95991 4454, Civil: 01494 494454 if they require transport. The funeral service will be followed by a wake for family and friends; details will be confirmed at a later date.

Jayne?s family have requested donations in lieu of flowers be made to the MacMillan Cancer Support charity, either on the day or in the name of Air Cdre W J Millington via the website https://www.macmillan.org.uk/donate

FCA members who wish to attend the service are requested to email Fg Off James Palfrey (james.palfrey968@mod.gov.uk ), copy to the FCA Secretary, so that St Clement Danes can be kept informed of numbers attending.

Lastly, in the finest traditions of the FC/ABM Branch the Association would like to ensure that Jayne gets a fitting send off. The FCA therefore plans to make a contribution towards the costs of the Wake; however, as this would fall outside of our agreed spend, donations from FCA Members to help with these costs would be most welcome. Should members wish to make a personal contribution, we will ensure that contributions are passed on with any underspend donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund/Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

Personal donations should be made to the following FCA account:
Account Name: Association of FC Officers
Sort Code:40-47-17
Acc No: 82356260
Payment Ref:JMWake

Kind regards

Grant Grafton
26th May 2017 at 11:08 am
PersonMike Good

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:37 Characters
Such talent, taken so young. Tragic.
22nd May 2017 at 8:09 pm
PersonMike Clarke

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:49 Characters
Shocked and sadden by this dreadful news.

Mike
22nd May 2017 at 8:13 am
PersonRichard Jenner

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:356 Characters
This is very sad news. I got to know Jayne when she spent a period at Buchan for her MC training which she applied herself to with typical dedication and focus while at the same time managing to be a popular member of the station. She went on to much greater things of course and we are all the poorer for the loss of her amazing talent.

Richard Jenner
21st May 2017 at 12:55 pm
PersonMartyn Bettel

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:57 Characters
Shocked and saddened by the news of Jayne's passing.
21st May 2017 at 8:52 am
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: 'Classified' Personal Announcements
Topic: Air Cdre Jayne Millington   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:360 Characters
All,

Ginge Crayford passed me the following message:

'It is with sadness that I received the news that Jayne Millington died earlier today (Sat 20 May '17), in Belgium, after a long battle with cancer. Her brother was with her when she died. This post will be updated once funeral arrangements etc. are known.'

Grant Grafton
Secretary
11th April 2017 at 8:27 pm
PersonGrant Grafton

Category: Charity And Fund-Raising Notices
Topic: Flash Gordon Is Alive And To Prove It He's Running   (<< Click to jump to Topic)
Post:935 Characters
Dear members, excuse the levity in the subject heading. I'm sure Flash won't mind. Please take note of his message below this and give as generously as you can.

Kind regards

Grant

Secretary

'Dear All,

I cannot believe that it is over 5 months since I suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest! However, I am pleased to say that I have recovered well and am on track to meet my goal of running the Lincoln 10K on 2 April - not a huge distance I know but if I can finish around the hour mark I will be delighted. It will perhaps not come as any surprise that I have decided to run in support of the Lincolnshire and Nottingham Air Ambulance, who were instrumental in helping to save my life. My target sponsorship is ?1,000, and I would really appreciate it if you felt able to support. You can donate at http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Nicholas-Gordon2 or Text IFKP75 with the amount to 70070.'
The next event is: Engineers Walk 2019 held on 27th September 2019 at 5:00 pm for more details, click here
There are 14 new articles ; click here to view all articles.
Date Content
NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Bruntingthorpe Open Day 2019
12th May 2019 at 11:09 pm
By: Jan Cobb (Web Manager)

The Cold War Jets Collection at Bruntingthorpe Airfield, near Leicester, will be holding its open day on 26th May this year (see the poster graphic below). If any Association members decide to attend, they should make themselves known at the Commentary Box, where our very own Museums Member - Dave Lowry - will be one of the commentators. Other names people might recognise are John Ward and Dennis Brooks (Lightnings) and Bob Tuxford (Victor K2).

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Ripperston WW2 GCI Station now a Place of Heritage
19th February 2019 at 5:51 pm
By: Jan Cobb (Web Manager)

If you are like me, until recently the name RAF Ripperston will have been unfamiliar. It was a GCI Station during WW2, located on the Pembrokeshire Peninsula, and has become a place of heritage and art. This heritage site brings to light the history of radar and the part played by Ripperston during WWII. Aircraft under control of the station patrolled the SW Approaches with its busy convoy activities. It responded to the raids on Cardiff, Swansea & Pembroke Dock and live interceptions of hostiles were achieved. According to the records of No 125 (Newfoundland) TNA Air 27/922 and 78 Wing, the number of hostiles intercepted over the period from 1942/43 that appear to have been controlled from Ripperston amounts to approx. 20, which were a combination of Do. 217s, Ju 88s and He 111s. All were on raids on Swansea, Milford Haven or Pembrokedock. Of those twenty interceptions it would be imprudent to suggest that all were destroyed, however, the Personal Combat Report for 16/03/43

Enemy Casualties, in one air mission, list 2 Do. 217s destroyed, 1 probably destroyed and 1 damaged all from one Beaufighter. Moreover, three other Beaufighters from the same Squadron accounted for 1 destroyed and 2 probables during the same night. The raid was targeting Swansea Docks and resulted in 30 civilian deaths and 60 casualties, plus a WAAF block at Fairwood Common took a direct hit killing 3 young WAAFs. Finally, records list many other attempted interceptions that never achieved actual air combat due to last minute equipment malfunction either from Ripperston or the intercepting a/c. Moreover, a number of further attempted interceptions failed due to miscommunications.

It can only be assumed that without the work of the Beaufighters and Ripperston, the damage and casualties on the ground would have been higher.

Ripperston was equipped with a T7 radar. Not unexpectedly, none of the radar remains. Some buildings, however, are in excellent repair. The station was part of the developments which initiated Neatishead and they were similarly equipped. However, they were in different Groups.

The whole renovation project has been undertaken privately by John and Jane Dixon. The buildings of the former RAF site formed part of their new home when they moved to Pembrokeshire in 1998. It was some years after their purchase that John found out that these dilapidated buildings, including the Happidrome, were what remained of the old GCI Station. They were in a sorry state, having been used by the previous owner as a pig farm and for agricultural storage. Having a strong connection to the RAF - John served as a young man at RAF Neatishead as a technician in the R12 - he started to repair the buildings. To cut a long story short, this work has been a labour of love by the Dixons, over many years, funded entirely out of their own pockets. The buildings are now sympathetically restored to their former glory and, along with all the WWII memorabilia, are home to a wonderful display of aviation art by GAvA members.  John gives presentations in the former operations room, followed by a guided tour with beverages and biscuits in the Officers Mess. Jane, an artist, enjoys the opportunity to show off her own work alongside that of her peers, all West Wales Artists.

Following his time in the RAF John went on to become a North Sea Saturation Diver working on oil-rigs and Dive Support Vessels. He later became a Sub-Sea Engineer and finally a Senior Offshore Construction Manager working on major international offshore projects utilising divers and ROVs.

Within the former Admin Wing, John and Jane have created some splendid 1940’s style bedrooms; shown on their website. They welcome heritage visitors, through introduction, individually or as small groups to stay with them on a B&B basis to soak in the extraordinary atmosphere of GCI Station Ripperston.  I have taken advantage of their hospitality and found my stay to be most comfortable and pleasant.

John and Jane have done a magnificent job. They are also a very friendly and interesting pair. In my opinion, until now unbeknown to us, they are both doing much to achieve part of the ADRM’s and Fighter Control Association’s (FCA) objective of increasing awareness of Air Defence Radars and Command and Control Systems. John has been put forward for Honorary Membership of the FCA in recognition of both his and Jane’s achievements. I will also encourage him to become a Friend of the ADRM especially in view of him having served at Neatishead. I think there should be informal links between ourselves and Ripperston.

John is looking for a T64 Console and has had no luck. If anyone knows of one, or has accurate drawings, please let me know.

Dave Lowry (Museums Member)

 

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: More Website Modifications
27th August 2018 at 10:54 am
By: Jan Cobb (Web Manager)

While the changes to the colour scheme will be evident on arriving at the website afresh, some things will not be so evident, such as the need to hover your mouse pointer over the left side of your browser's window in order to display the side menu (and move it away again to hide the menu). Also, the structure has changed slightly and the Links page - once part of the 'Links and Documents' duo in the Member-only menu - has been moved to the public arena and appears now on the bottom (fixed) menu bar, along with links to Social Media and other information about the Association, such as the Constitution, Rules and Website Terms and Conditions. I have also moved the Media and Projects sections from the front page to their own pages, accessible from the bottom bar menu. Many of the links will open in a 'modal' display, rather than in a new page, but external links will open in a new tab/window.

In due course, the pages of articles from the old CMS website will be coerced into the new site, with many being made available, as before, to the public, although I believe there are differences of opinion on how much should be made public; in the first instance I shall make things available to the membership only and ask the Heritage Member to lead/decide on accessibility issues.

Please let me have any comments (positive or negative) about the changes that have been made; I am open to criticism (although I would prefer it to be constructive, please!).

Jan Cobb (Web Manager)

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Bruntingthorpe Open Day
13th August 2018 at 12:24 pm
By: Jan Cobb (Web Manager)

We have been informed of an Open Day taking place at Bruntingthorpe Airfield (off A5199 (old A50) South of Leicester) on 26 August 2018, with the gates opening at 9.00 a.m.

The attached 'scan' of a poster gives a little more information:

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Air Ops Branch & TG7 IBNs
23rd April 2018 at 6:36 pm
By: Jan Cobb (Web Manager)

Dear FCA Member,

The Chairman (Gp Capt O'Connor) has permitted the publication of 2 Internal Briefing Notices regarding the Air Ops Branch and the stand-up of TG7 (Non-commissioned Control Cadre) on the FCA website, both of which can be found in the 'Documents' section.

Alternatively, you can open them from the following links:

 

If you are having problems accessing the links, please don't hesitate to contact me at webmanager@raffca.org.uk

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Upcoming AGM
11th April 2018 at 3:36 pm
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Dear Member,

The date of the 2018 AGM is set for Saturday 16th Jun 2018. Our Entertainments member has secured us the Royal Greenwich Museums as a venue (you can see the address inthe events section of the website simply click the AGM bar and it will pop-up a google map screen. You can also use this on your smartphone and it will populate your google maps to give you directions should you need them).

A general outline of the whole weekend is:

Fri evening - Happy Hour in Greenwich Pub; Sat am - AGM followed by lunch; Sat afternoon - at leisure around the Royal Greenwich Museums; Sat evening - AGM dinner.

We should be grateful if members would let us know, no later than 20th Apr, if they are likely to attend and if they will be accompanied. This information is purely for planning purposes and is not an indication of a commitment. Please reply to: entertainments@raffca.org.uk

The Warning Notice, Agenda and amplifying information for the AGM will be published in due course.

Kind regards

Grant

Grant Grafton | Secretary | +44(0)1626 351809 | +44(0)7887 765643 | secretary@raffca.org.uk

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: 2017 AGM Minutes
4th April 2018 at 9:57 am
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Dear FCA Member,

 

The AGM is not far away and I thought it would be worthwhile to point out that you can access the 2017 AGM minutes (*and previous years!) in the 'Links' section of the website.

Alternatively, just click this link below which will take you straight there.

http://www.raffca.org.uk/library_files.php

 

Regards

Costi

Web Manager

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Profile Photos
18th March 2018 at 1:06 pm
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Hello All

 

You can now add a personalised photo to your profile. In order to do this simply follow these steps:

 

  • click on the circular photo next to the user-bar that dispalys your name.

test

  • This will bring up the following screen:

upload_photo

  • From here, press the 'browse' button and select your photo (Note the image must either be .jpg, .jpeg, .png or .gif).

 

  • When the photo has been loaded on the left-hand window, you can zoom it in and out and move the photo to centre it to the position you require.

 

  • Then select the 'Upload Photo' button and you will see the green alert bar at the top of the page stating your photo has been changed. In addition you will see the examples of how your image will be seen on the site on the right hand side

 

  • That is it! your profile photo has been uploaded and you can continue to enjoy using the site.

 

 

  • Oh and please leave feedback from the site on the Message Board - under General Discussions -> New Website (Topic)

 

Regards

 

Costi

Web Manager

 

 

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Message Board Max Characters
28th February 2018 at 1:31 pm
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Hello All,

 

I have increased the maximum number of characters that you can post in the message board from 2000 to 10,000. This should allow you to put your points across.

 

Just for your awareness, the message board acts in near real-time, therfore if someone posts a message and you are active on the same board you will see it appear within 1-2 seconds (it acts like a messenger app).

 

Finally, if you have any points for improvement, please let me know.

 

Regards

 

Costi

Web Manager

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Website Improvements
7th October 2017 at 3:52 pm
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Hello All,

 

It's been a while since the website was first rolled-out and I would like to thank those of you who provided me with areas which had bugs on it. In addition, thank you for your patience with the new layout.

 

I have made some more improvements on the site, noticeable on your dashboard, message board, events notifications and I have enhanced functionality for the committee members.

 

With respect to the events area, I have included a google maps embedded image for you to load up on your smart phones or tablet / PC to show where the event is being held. Future updates will allow us to upload images from each event for you to view and rememer (if you want to remember being 4 pints + downrange!!).

 

If you would like to leave feedback for the webiste including any areas for improvements please feel free to place them on the Message Board under New Website.

 

Finally, whe you log in your dashboard will tell you how many new message board posts and news areticles from the Committee have been posted since you last logged in, plus you can click on the banners and they will display them instantly insted of you trying to find the infromation clicking in the menus.

 

Thats enough from me, 

 

I hope to see you all at the next event (see the Events Infromation on the dashboard for when and where),

 

Regards

 

Costi

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Biography
19th June 2017 at 8:52 pm
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Air Commodore W J (Jayne) Millington MA MA(Oxon) FRAeS FCMI RAF

 

millington

Educated at Hawarden High School and Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating with honours in Physics, Air Commodore Jayne Millington gained some policing experience in the North Wales Special Constabulary before joining Marconi Space & Defence Systems as a Guided Weapons engineer (1984).  A change of career in 1986 saw her commissioned into the RAF General Duties (GD) (Fighter Control) Specialisation, qualifying as an Intercept Controller and serving in the UK Air Defence System at RAF Buchan, Grampian, towards the end of the Cold War; operational detachments included Cyprus, Belize and the Falkland Islands.  The first woman to graduate from the GD Aerosystems Course, Jayne won the Specialist Navigation Aries Trophy, subsequently working to enhance the operational software of the Tornado F3 aircraft.  Promotion to Squadron Leader in 1994 took Jayne to MOD Operational Requirements (Air) where she gained endorsement for the Tactical Air Control Centre now employed by No 1 Air Control Centre (1ACC).  Over this period, she was a member of the World Land Speed Record THRUST Supersonic Car (SSC) Team[1] and commanded No 7 Signals Unit, Byron Heights in the Falkland Islands.

 

As a Wing Commander on ACSC4 she won a Cormorant Fellowship to King’s College and attained an MA (Distinction) in Defence Studies.  A tour as OC Operations Wing, RAF Wittering, followed during which she acted as Station Commander for 5 months during Op TELIC in 2003.  As Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS) Force Commander, she was also Station Commander, RAF Boulmer (November 2006-2009), responsible for the output of a geographically diverse Force within the UK (against renewed Russian activity) whilst supporting air surveillance and coordination operations in Afghanistan.  Selected to attend the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2009, Jayne’s work on the prospects for space security in the Obama Presidency was selected as a ‘Seaford House’ paper.  Becoming Assistant Head International Policy and Planning, Middle &Near East in December 2009, Jayne developed MOD’s regional Defence Diplomacy policy, working across Whitehall in support of the HMG ‘Gulf Initiative’ to thicken bilateral relationships in a region made even more complex and turbulent by the events of the Arab Spring.

 

Jayne was promoted Air Commodore in November 2011 and was appointed Air Officer Battlespace Management (AO BM) at HQ 1 Group with corresponding responsibilities as Defence Head for strategic airspace policy.  As the nominated Deputy UK Air Defence Commander, Jayne delivered air security for the 2012 Olympics; 2013 G8 Summit; 2014 Commonwealth Games & NATO Summit in Wales.  As AO BM, Jayne’s diverse area of responsibilities included the National Air Defence Operations Centre; Military Air Traffic Management; UK ASACS; Space Control (Space Operations Centre and RAF Fylingdales); Joint Ground Based Air Defence HQ; and the Joint Datalink Management Organisation.

 

In June 2015, after 3 and half years as AO BM, Jayne commenced language training prior to taking up an appointment in January 2016 as Deputy Chief of Staff at HQ Allied Air Command. Later that year Jayne was appointed as the UK’s National Military Representative SHAPE in Brussels – a post that she was forced to stand down from due to ill health.

 

Jayne was President of the Aries Association (graduate of the Aerosystems and Specialist Navigation courses).  She had a lapsed PPL(A) and enjoyed jogging for fitness.  Jayne’s other interests included historical/cultural travel, art history and music in which she had a catholic taste.

 

Jayne died in Belgium at 0840 (European time) on Saturday 20 May 2017 following a battle with cancer.

 

“Her duty done – she sleeps”

 

Per Ardua ad Astra

 

[1] 15 Oct 1997 – 763mph (Mach 1.02).

 

 

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: RAF Biggin Hill
19th June 2017 at 8:44 pm
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Dear Member,

The following note has been received from Norry Bell, seeking your support for a petition aimed at preventing significant changes to the Chapel of Remembrance at RAF Biggin Hill.

 

You can read more and sign the petition here:

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-biggin-hill-st-george-s-raf-chapel-of-remembrance

He also asks that those who are able to do so to take a moment to share the petition with others.  It's really easy – all you need to do is forward this email or share this link on Facebook or Twitter:

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-biggin-hill-st-george-s-raf-chapel-of-remembrance

 

Kind regards

Grant

Grant Grafton | Secretary | +44(0)1626 351809 | +44(0)7887 765643 | sec@raffca.org.uk

 

 

 

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Welcome
5th June 2017 at 12:12 pm
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

Dear FCA Member,

 

Welcome to the new & hopefully improved FCA Website, the main aims set out for improving the web site are:

  1. Ease the administration on the committee.
  2. Improve the look and allow it to be responsive for tablets and smartphones.
  3. Enhance the publicity of the projects that the committee and its members undertake.

 

I hope you enjoy the new site and its functionality, please note it is not completely finished yet!. Some of the improvements are listed below:

  • The site is tablet and smartphone friendly - it is responsive to different screen sizes - although you may find some pages overflow - please let me know if this is the case and I will fix it (use the Committee page to contact me!).
  • This site now accepts online applications with the added benefit of paying your subscription by Paypal. In addition, you are now in control of your profile and can add the details as and when you require.
  • The message board facility is still operational, although I was not able to transfer all of the legacy boards over, if you would like a specific board sent over I will make this work for you. The message boards are now near real-time, what does that mean? If you and others are logged in, they will see your post update within 5 seconds of you posting it, bringing the boards to life and allowing you to have real-time conversations,
  • The Heritage section will display all of the fantastic history, facts, articles, papers that the Association has amassed over the time it has been formed. This area will display the information in a more web-friendly format! - This will be updated in the near future.
  • The Events area allows you to see what events are upcoming, it also details the address & further details for you to log in using your smartphone and select the address - this will bring up a google maps application and direct you to the event location - perfect for those who struggle to read maps!!
  • The links page stores all of the Associations affiliates, minutes, photos and videos. If you would like something added to this area, please let me know.

 

If you have any questions, areas of improvements or snags, please let me know!

 

Regards

 

Costi

Paul Costigan

 

Web Manager

 

 

NEW ARTICLE
Subject: Bereavement
5th June 2017 at 8:38 am
By: Paul Costigan (Web Manager)

A funeral service for Air Cdre Jayne Millington MA, MA(Oxon), FRAeS, FCMI, RAF, will be held at St Clement Danes, Strand, London WC2R 1DH at 1400 on Mon 19 Jun 17.

FCA Members who knew Air Cdre Millington are very welcome to attend the service and are requested to be seated by 1350. Dress for the funeral service for military personnel is No 1 SD (or single Service equivalent) with medals. At the request of the family, black armbands are not to be worn. Transport from RAF High Wycombe for service personnel is available and personnel are requested to contact the RAF High Wycombe Stn Adjutant or SWO (Fg Off Palfrey or Warrant Officer Marshall) on MOD telephone: 95991 4454, Civil: 01494 494454 if they require transport. The funeral service will be followed by a wake for family and friends; details will be confirmed at a later date.

Jayne’s family have requested donations in lieu of flowers be made to the MacMillan Cancer Support charity, either on the day or in the name of Air Cdre W J Millington via the website https://www.macmillan.org.uk/donate

FCA members who wish to attend the service are requested to email Fg Off James Palfrey (james.palfrey968@mod.gov.uk ), copy to the FCA Secretary, so that St Clement Danes can be kept informed of numbers attending.

Lastly, in the finest traditions of the FC/ABM Branch the Association would like to ensure that Jayne gets a fitting send off. The FCA therefore plans to make a contribution towards the costs of the Wake; however, as this would fall outside of our agreed spend, donations from FCA Members to help with these costs would be most welcome. Should members wish to make a personal contribution, we will ensure that contributions are passed on with any underspend donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund/Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

Personal donations should be made to the following FCA account:
Account Name: Association of FC Officers
Sort Code:40-47-17
Acc No: 82356260
Payment Ref:JMWake

Kind regards

Grant Grafton

Secretary


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