Monday, 30 April 2012

AFA (UK) April 2012 Reunion

By Clive Bloor
The AFA (UK) had its first reunion of 2012 on 28,n April. This is why the May Alpha 1 is a few days late. We wanted to get some of the photos in for you to see.

The reunion was attended by only 23 people, but this is probably due to the rising travel costs and shrinking available finances of most. Had it not been for the lousy weather it is probable a few more would have been able to attend. That said, it was a good event with lots of beer and other alcoholic drinks being consumed, and all the biltong, dry wors and Bombay Potato Fritters being consumed.

Mike McCormack kindly donated a pile of much needed photographs and beer mugs. Terry Eaton donated three air force plaques. Phil Evans (new associate member) made and gave the Viscount to the display to remember those who were murdered Nkomo's terrorists, as well as Ian Smith's Hurricane, a model of the Harvard that used to be housed in one of 4 Sqdn's hangars, a model of the last Spitfire we flew, and a model of our last Tiger Moth (plus a pile of Rhodesian DVDs). All the models are of the highest standard and detail. Marie Haywood made a generous donation of £100 towards our Roll of Honour project. Thanks very much to each of you for the generosity.

Some visitors had never see the 'collection upstairs' and were surprised to see how much there is to see. How many memories coming flooding back.

Vic Wightman's daughter Helen and granddaughter Alice flew into the UK from Johannesburg on Monday 23rd April and he brought them along to meet us at the reunion.

Welcome Helen and Alice and we hope the UK and Europe are kind to you.

UK  AFA, AFA (UK) April 2012
The Men: L-R Front. Mike McCormack, Terry Eaton, Vic Wightman, Eddie Flawn
L-R Back. Rod Packer, Jim Flawn, Phil Evans, Clive (Fred Bloggs) Bloor, Bertie May, Ian Watson, Wally Joyce


Distributed to ORAFs at the request of Clive Bloor of AFA (UK).

Thanks to Clive (AKA Fred Bloggs) for sharing this photo and memories with ORAFs.

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

ANZAC in Hampshire 2012

By Paul and Carole Brooks

This photograph is  of our grandson - Air Cadet Jack Campbell (on the right)  - standard bearer at the Anzac Day Memorial Service in our local village churchyard (St Nicholas', Brockenhurst, Hampshire)  where there is an Anzac Memorial and 94 war graves. Those buried here are the sick and wounded from the Western Front  who were treated and died at the No. 1  New Zealand Hospital which was close by. It is organised each year by the RBL and always well attended.  Notably this year by Air Vice-Marshall Andrew Roberts CB CBE AFC FRAes, HE Mr Derek Leask - New Zealand High Commissioner, Chaplain J McPhee RNZAF and Air Chief-Marshall Sir Joe French KCB CBE CWGC.

Hamp1, Anzac Day in Hampshire 2012


Our thanks to Paul and Carole for sharing these memories with ORAFs.
Paul was the Salisbury Airport Manager.
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Friday, 27 April 2012

ANZAC In Canberra 2012

1Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
ANZAC In Canberra 2012 

Australia and New Zealand Branch of the RLIRA

I arrived home just filled with happy memories from this wonderful ANZAC meeting of the RLI. We deeply missed our other members and our friends who had the parade in Coolum and hope they had a great success.

I have attached Diggers wonderful letter to us below and can only say we are eternally grateful to him and Sue for their commitment to this success. I personally feel honoured taking this role at this important meeting of the RLI. Through Digger we met Mickey Michaelis who has made us members of the RSL league and donated that wonderful banner. We also had the incredible assistance from Derek Roylance who got the ABC to make a mention of us when we passed the Diaz. 

The most important was General Clunies Ross who was our guest speaker and most interesting. We do apologise to the General for the miscommunication for his wife missing the dinner.

Richard Johnson was the main organiser of this event when Digger was ill and he did a fantastic job. The next ANZAC will be in Brisbane and this will again be arranged by Granny.

Shaun and Annette Ryan were with us and Shaun kindly donated us our own colours. Fantastic.

Chris Cox sent us some pics and a DVD of Msodja. Thanks Chris, the presentation had some impact.

Simone Johnson did the photography and even tried to follow us around the parade area and was pulled up by the Gestapo.. Fantastic job, thanks.

Digger, Damien of 8RAR was a star as invited the RLI to their private function. We donated him and Mickey a set of wings and the RLI badge. Maybe you can send this email to him.

We also hijacked Sharon and Linda (apologies if names incorrect) to carry the banner and they were unreal. There was a time that wind nearly blew them over, but they got into that scrum position. Thanks ladies.

Please see a link to the march. I will also try and download a snip of the parade itself.

Here is another link with a few pics of the parade and they got me doing a chop to the Diaz. Not sure if forcing the gut out is compulsory!! Maybe the 2 shirts do not help.

Granny has just said though Perth has a great monument etc. the proximity of the Memorial, the hotel, the after drinks, the airport etc etc makes the Canberra ANZAC the best by far. All we missed were the rest of our buddies.

I am sure Hugh Bomford would like to know that Gerald Moffet did make an appearance at the after drinks.

Directly after the parade, the Zim Ambassador, Jacqueline Zwambila came up to us asking to meet. We had a great chat and a few pics. I am surprised Australia permits them to have reps here considering the way Bob treats this country and his track record. Anyway she seems to be the opposition party. This was a real nice touch but suggest the dinner may have created a few coughs during the slide show if she were present!!

We ask Ian McFarlane to use any of this data and pics for the write up for our branch in the Cheetah magazine and please feel free to put these on the web.

I do not have all the email addresses, but  will ask Granny to send this on to all our members.

As promised, we will have an election for Chairman and Secretary for this branch and ask that these are in by 11th May 2012. I have stated that as I have been asked to stand again, I will do so, only with Richard as Treasurer and Secretary. Please send these nominations by your registered email only. Only members of this branch can vote and any new members must contact Richard for a form to complete which must also be acceptable to our EXCO.  We do encourage all our members who served in the RLI, to look at this wonderful parade in Canberra and become productive and plan to make the next one in Brisbane. Sub Committees will be formed with heads in each state. Doug Paxton will handle Victoria, Granny Qld and Canberra.

This branch grows steadily in numbers. A short note for Ian which may be of interest, is within our membership, is now the 3 Swan brothers, all who served in the RLI from 1976 to the final parade, being Jimmy, Reg and Mark. (marched in the final) Our old man was Major John Swan and he had the hard task of managing the goffel units. I once ended up on a FF chopper deploy to a base and my Dad was there as OC with these guys. I saluted, as one would do and then quietly asked him to please reshape the beret as was sick as looked like a cooks hat!!

Please can all members also Contact Richard should they wish to join the RSL League. The cost is only $30.
All the best,
Jimmy Swan.

Richard kindly made these photographs available to ORAFs.

3Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
RLI Austalia NZ Branch marches in ANZAC Canberra.

4Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
RLI Australia NZ branch and Associate members post march.

2Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
Zimbabwe Ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila

5Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
RLI outside the hotel.

6Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
The RLI and special guest Doug Jardine outside the Mercure Hotel.

7 Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
Digger giving the RLI history.

8 Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
Major General Clunies Guest Speaker

9 Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
Dinner at the Mercure Hotel

10Canb, 2012 ANZAC Day Canberra
Major General Clunies, Jimmy and Digger.

14Canb, Canberra Anzac 2012
Jimmy Donates Damien, the head of the RAR a set of wings.

13=Canb, Canberra 2012 Anzac Parade
Having Fun

Letter from Brig Digger Essex - Clark.

Dear Jimmy and Richard, and all our stalwarts who were together in Canberra.

I hope you all got home safely after those two splendid days that Susan and I spent with The  RLIRA Australian  stalwarts.

I don’t think you’ll ever realise or understand to what a fabulous extent my morale was lifted by those two emotive days.

As a stale retired old military curmudgeon, you Jimmy and you Richard, and your magnificent team of stalwarts who came to our reunion  made 2012  a significant and very special year  in my life . For this I warmly thank you both, and also those incredible stalwarts for their heart-warming friendship, generosity, and moving spirit of the Old RLI and ‘Old Rhodesia’. I must also thank Shaun  and Annette for being here and bringing those superb Colours. Jimmy and Richard, mates, what an unforgettable reunion you organised for us!

Susan and I thoroughly enjoyed our Reunion Dinner  as did our guest Adrian Clunies-Ross who was most impressed by you all. I apologise for showing a little too much emotion in my ‘tribute’ to the RLI and its KIA and those who died on operations, to which I always also add the best junior officer I ever had: David Parker. (who was not serving in the battalion at the time).

Susan, again saw with warmth the emotional spirit of the best of those who served in our battalion whom could afford the time and costs to make it to our Canberra reunion. She, as were all those who knew my soul relationship with the RLI praised highly our contingent that marched past them to represent, not only the RLI, but subliminally, the spirit of ‘Old Rhodesia’. There were many tears from those that knew ‘Old Rhodesia’ as you marched so proudly by them.

All those of the RAR Association who hosted us at the Mercure following the March; commented about what a ‘great and energising bunch’ you were. Their President Brigadier  Damien Roche said he spoke for the whole Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) Association throughout every state, city, and town in Australia when he also told me that the legal RLIRA or the RLIANZ are always welcome at any time, for any event in which the RAR Association as involved. They see us simply as well-blooded and most capable fellow Infantrymen who fought with distinction and courage for a great and worthy cause: 'Brothers in Arms'.

By becoming a distinct sub-branch of the ACT Branch of the RSL of Australia, we also cemented our relationship with the spirit of all Australian  Ex-servicemen and women and now become part of the Australian Culture and Anzac lore.. The more members who can afford to join us, the stronger that bond will become. While saying this I must also praise Mickey Michaelis for his work to involve us with the RSL and presenting us with that splendid and proud banner, and in addition,  for his entertaining and useful talk and card tricks at the dinner,.

I also think that the spirited welcome given to us by an excited Ndebele Zimbabwe Ambassador, and supporter of Morgan Tsvangarai ,as you came off the bleachers ,was the icing on the cake for us all.

Well done, you Incredible Stalwarts, what a grand example you set for all of us, and:

Take care, all of you and I give Susan's and my warmest and very best wishes and hopes for good health for all of you and your loved ones

12 Canb, RLI Badge
'The Saints go marching on!'


ORAFs records its thanks and appreciation to Richard Johnson and to the rLI Association for sharing these photos and memories with ORAFs.

ORAFs also suspects that the one chap with the SAS beret is Ken Aplin who also served with the RhAF.

Comments are always welcome - please send them to Eddy Norris at

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Auckland Anzac Day Parade April 2012

By John Pringle (RhAF)

Auckland turned on a wonderful day for the ANZAC Day ceremony and some fifty members of the Rhodesian Services Association were on parade, including four Blue jobs: John Michalakis, Chuck Osborne, Prop Geldenhuys and your reporter, John Pringle.

The Hobsonville Returned Services Association (RSA) traditionally hosts the ex Rhodesian contingent and we are always by far the largest group on parade. We march to the RNZAF band and the parade is commanded by an RNZAF Cadet Forces Officer.

The banner was carried by Hugh Bomford and a wreath was laid by Steve Geach BCR, Peter Knobel’s son-in-law.

The pictures depict: (1) fine body of men, and (2) the ORAFS as listed above, from left to right.

ANZ22012, RhAF members on Auckland Anzac Parade 2012

Anz12012, RhAF members on Auckland Anzac Parade 2012
John Michalakis, Chuck Osborne, Prop Geldenhuys and John Pringle.


Thanks to John for sharing his photographs ad memories with ORAFs.
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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

SAS Reunion in New Zealand

By John Graham

A month ago (March, 2012) Jan and Rosemary Boltman (Cape Town) were staying with Danny & Eileen Hartman and they called in for a cuppa on their way home, having visited the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves.

SAS 1, Hartman, Boltman and Graham in March 2012

Danny - Jan - John

SAS2, Hartman's, Boltmans and Grahams
Hartman's - Boltman's - Graham's

Jan and Danny were my instructors when I joined in 1965.


Thanks to John for the information and thanks to Danny for the use of his photos.

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Monday, 16 April 2012

RSA Visit 2012

By Peter -Petter-Bowyer

We flew to Cape Town arriving there on Tuesday 13 March. Four days in Somerset West with Gregg Todd and much travelling around the beautiful Cape we visited Air Force friends and relatives. I do not have shots of the many Air Force friends we met at Tony Cowell and Johnny Ness’ pub. I did however have this photograph of our meeting with Mick and Anne McLaren at their home in Fish Hoek

PB1 -RSA 2012, McLaren's and PB's

    Cape Town was followed by the long drive to Mossel Bay. With Greg leading in his lovely VW we followed in our little hire-car for a memorable luncheon stop near Heidelburg meeting Air Force friends Moira and Eddie Wilkinson, Lynne, Mark and son Frazer McLean plus Marion and Mike Mulligan.

PB2 -RSA 2012, Lowveld
Heildelburg - Eddie and Moira Wilkinson, Mike and Marion Mulligan, PB and Beryl, Mark, Frazer and Lynne McLean, Greg Todd

    In Mossel Bay we spent four fantastic days with Sandy and John Blythe-Wood in their truly magnificent home which has a view to die for.

We then moved on to visit my girlie cousins Sandra and Carol-Lynn and their husbands in Port Elizabeth and Bathurst before driving on to my brother’s home on Haartbeesport Dam, stopping a night in Bloemfontein.

Before leaving Port Elizabeth we met up with Roy Morris (below) who we had not seen since Air Force days back in late 1970s.

PB3 -RSA 2012, Pb's with ROy Morris

    Brother Tony and his wife Bee spoiled us generously with a wonderful visit to their game farm, massages in the Health and Beauty Spar they own, a flight in Tony’s Sirrus SR22 and a lovely lunch on his barge in a private cove across the water on Haartbeest Dam. Tony lent us his Toyota Landcruiser for a fantastic and memorable visit to Di (was Mrs. Ted Brent) and husband Al Hattingh in Nelspruit. There we met up with Jan, recent widow of Peter Knobel.

PB4 -RSA 2012, Nelspruit
    Di, Jan, PB and Beryl
Tony and I visited Eddy and Trish Norris for a how-goes-it meeting by three Old Boys from Umtali High School. We were most interested to see the place from which the plethora of ORAFS communications enters and exits. There we found Eddy bandaged up following an unfortunate fall he had some days earlier. Trish plied us with tea and tasty food whilst we reminisced on maters numerous. 

PB5-RSA 2012, Norris home in Irene

Trish’s desire to convert a room (visible in background) into a proper work-station and library caused my generous brother to give the Norris couple a financial gift towards this venture. Like all of us who so enjoy ORAFS, Tony needed to give tangible support.

We arrived in London on time and found Debbie waiting for us with warm coats and her cheery smile. On the drive home we learned of electrical power failures in our home which started a day after we had left for RSA. These persisted in spite of a number of electrician visits, trip-outs have occurred daily. An Isolator Switch is needed for the electricians to undertake an in depth investigation but, due to bureaucracy rulings, this could only be undertaken by our energy provider – potentially inducing a 10 day delay - bloody sickening. Fortunately however, Debbie’s persistence and appeals for her elderly parents did the trick. The isolator switch was installed yesterday with a four-day wait that will have the electrician back for an in-depth investigation that, hopefully, clears away electrical failures.

In the meanwhile our frozen foods continue to be accommodated by our next-door neighbour and Bill Galloway (who, though living in Norwich, willingly responded to Debbie’s appeal from Shropshire on 14 March). Both parties were here for dinner last night and Bill slept over.


Thanks to PB for sharing his photos and memories with ORAFs. Special thanks to you and Tony for your visit and heartfelt thanks to Tony for his assistance.

To view PB's visit to the AFA (Cape) Pub please visit the link below.

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