Representing a Common Heritage


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Welfare Gifts for TSW Operational Detachments

Wii Presentation

Jim Davies (Chairman RAFA Stone) and Duncan
Grant present the Wiis to Nick Atkinson

The Association, together with the Stone branch of RAFA, has purchased two Nintendo Wii consoles with sports games as welfare gifts for the TSW detachments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Wiis were presented to the Wing by the Charman of RAFA Stone, Jim Davies, and our own Chairman, Duncan Grant, on 2nd December 2008, in time for them to be delivered to the detachments by Christmas.

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Remembrance Commemorations in France

As part of their Remembrance activities earlier this month, 4 members of the RAF Cottesmore RAFA Committee undertook a visit to northern France to commemorate the Armistace.  CT Dave Craven (Chairman) led the party accompanied by Cpl Richie Crouch, SAC Lucy King and FS Neil Storer, an Association member.  Also on the visit were 2 photographers LA(Phot) Lewie Holden and SAC Danni Farrell.  Neil took with him a wreath to lay at the grave of LAC Leonard Charles Lansdowne, a member of 3206 SC, at Marissel Cemetry in Beauvais, on behalf of our Association.

The trip was centred around the town of Ferte-Sous-Jouarre, whose Mayor heads up the local administration that covers some 19 smaller communities; the team were involved in various commemoration ceremonies in the area on Remembrance Sunday, 11th November 2008.  In particular, they attended the commemorations at Basseville Cemetry, and from Neil's description, it is clear that the local community still holds the final resting place of 4 members of a Lancaster crew who are buried there in high regard and with the utmost respect.  In Ferte-Sous-Jouarre, wreaths were laid at both the British and French memorials.  Children and young people were at the centre of each of these memorial services; at the French memorial, local children read extracts from letters sent back from the trenches to families in the local area.  After a Civic reception, the RAFA committee joined ATC Cadets at another Commonwealth Cemetery at Perreuse. 

Marissel, France
Marissel, France
Marissel, France

FS Neil Storer lays a wreath at the grave of LAC Leonard Lansdowne at Marissel Cemetry, France
Pictures by LA(Phot) Lewie Holden and SAC Danni Farrell - RAF Cottesmore

Neil Storer writes: "...With the 11th being so busy, we had visited the grave of LAC Lansdowne on the 10th.  Although within the broad remit of the trip, the desire to visit LAC Lansdowne's grave and lay a wreath on behalf of the Association was a very personal one.  I was delighted when the whole party chose to join me and travel the 80 odd kilometres to Beauvais, especially the pair of photographers.  This personal odyssey completely captured the imagination of the whole party.  To be seeking out the final resting place of an individual whose name we knew gave the visit additional gravitas, and all of the party commented to me that the visit was one of the most worthwhile things that they had done in their Service careers.  It was also a visit that piqued the interest of the group."

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RAF Museum Display Opened

RAF Museum Display
RAF Museum Display
RAF Museum Display

The RAF Servicing Commando and Tactical Supply Wing "Toblerone" display at the RAF Museum, Hendon

On 28th October, after over a year’s endeavours by a range of marvellously  enthusiastic people, but particularly our Historical Focal Point, Peter Berry, the Association was pleased to be able to mark the opening of its display at the RAF Museum Hendon.  This is the first display of its type, depicting the work of support units, at the Museum.  Present day members of the Wing, former members and of course representatives from the Servicing Commandos were present.   We were pleased that our President, Sir Joe French was able to mark the event along with Dr Michael Fopp the Museum's Director. 

RAF Museum Display   RAF Museum Display

Dr Michael Fopp, Director of the RAF Museum, with the Association President, ACM Sir Joe French


Servicing Commando members L to R:
Alan Robinson, Bryan Stone, George Revell,
Gwyneth Pritchard, Don Thorogood, Ernie Deighton
and Alan "Mac" McQuillin

RAF Museum Display

L to R: Duncan Grant, John Craven-Griffiths, Pete Berry, Martin Williams, Jim Coleman
Sir Joe French, Des Peters, Tim Newstead and Nick Atkinson

RAF Museum Display
RAF Museum Display

The TSW Static Display at the Museum


The TSW personnel, SAC John Cunningham,
SAC Rich Spencer, SACW Kayleigh Lachs and
SAC Dan Ferrer who 'manned' the static display

The permanent display is housed in the Historic Hangars adjacent to the Bomber Hall and, appropriately, is located next to the WWII Hawker Typhoon and close to the Support Helicopter display.  The Museum was particularly busy on the day due to schools' half-term holidays, so the public - particularly the younger visitors - were also able to enjoy (for one day only) the TSW external static display; it comprised an Oshkosh Tanker (bedecked with 'outsized' poppy!) and an Air-Portable Fuel Container (APFC) complete with pump, filter and ancillary equipment. Click here to see more pictures in the Gallery.

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Bill Stell - 3201 SC

Bill Stell - 3201 SC
Bill Stell

We record with sadness that Bill Stell passed away on the 21st September 2008, aged 101 years, following an accident.  Bill was a member of 3201 Servicing Commando and, as far as we are aware, was the Association's only centenarian.

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Brian "BJ" Jeffery - TSW

Brian "BJ" Jeffery
Brian "BJ" Jeffery

It is with sadness that we record the passing of a genuinely larger-than-life character, ex-Cpl Brian "BJ" Jeffery, the clothing storeman at TSW from 1978 -1983.  BJ was very well known and liked by all who knew him.  He apparently developed Motor Neurone Disease and was diagnosed in 2007.  Tragically, Brian passed away on 12th July 2008. aged 51 years.  Quite a number of old boys, who were privileged to work with BJ, attended his funeral in Chorley, Lancs.  He leaves his wife and 4 year old daughter.

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Association Ties now in Stock

The new Association ties are now in stock.  The design depicts in prominent fashion the Servicing Commando Badge and TSW Crest on an RAF blue background with diagonal silver blue and red stripes in surround. Repeats of the Badge and Crest are given in background embossing throughout the rest of the tie.

The tie is available to paid-up Association members from the Treasurer at a cost of £9.45.

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Website Revamped

Two years after the very successful formation of the 'new' Association and its website, we have revamped and re-launched this new-look site.  All the old interesting pages are still here and we have now added Members pages which lists the current paid-up RAFSCdo and TSW members of the Association; also added - a Guest Book for members' and visitors' posts.  If you have any comments or suggestions for things you would like to see included on the site, please let the Webmaster know.

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Spectacles, Testicles, Fags and Matches

Spectacles, Testicles, Fags & Matches

Spectacles, Testicles, Fags and Matches - the untold story of the RAF Servicing Commando in World War Two.  This book has recently beeen reprinted by Luath Press Ltd and is a compilation of stories written by the Servicing Commandos.  The book is available to buy either directly from Luath Press, or through HarperCollins Publishers.  The price is £12.99 plus £1.00 postage; the book is also available from all good booksellers in the UK and overseas.

Luath Press Ltd
543/2 Castlehill
The Royal Mile
Telesales: +44 (0)131 225 4326

HarperCollins Publishers
Westerhill Road
G64 2QT

Telesales: +44 (0) 141 306 3100

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Martin Williams joined the RAF on a 12 year engagement as a Supply Tradesman, with his final years being spent with Tactical Supply Wing. After leaving in 1979, he worked first for GEC in Stafford and then embarked on a full second career as a Logistics Manager within the NHS in Staffordshire.   A stroke caused him to take early retirement.   After his recovery he found himself unable to accept full time employment so embarked on a range of studies at Staffordshire University, including a number of courses associated with Information Systems. Although dependant on a wheelchair for mobility, is he is a keen and active member of the Association and we are pleased to have him join the Committee as your new Membership Secretary. He can be contacted at:

31 Exeter Street
ST17 4EF

E Mail:
Tel: 01785 245053

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2008 AGM and Reunion Dinner

The Association's 2008 AGM and Reunion Dinner was held at Stafford on 6th, 7th and and 8th June 2008 - attended by over 60 members.  As usual, the weekend started with a ‘meet and greet’ at the Tillington Hall Hotel on the Friday evening. The AGM was held on the Saturday morning, which preceded the TSW Families Day at Beacon Barracks while some 26 members visited the National Memorial Aboretum at Alrewas. On Saturday evening, the Association Annual Dinner was held, again at the Tillington Hall Hotel; finally, on the Sunday morning a short service of commemoration and re-dedication was held in St Chad's Church, MOD Stafford, led by the Officiating Chaplain Revd John Davis MBE.

The AGM   The Committee

The AGM was held in the Sgts' Mess at MOD Stafford

The Association Committee
LtoR: Pete Berry, Tim Newstead, Duncan Grant
and Des Peters


Members await the AGM   Pete Berry focuses on history!

Members awaiting the start of the AGM


Pete Berry focuses in on history!

The main points arising from the AGM were as follows:

The SC plinth at Alrewas  

Robin Springett, Mac McQuillin, George Revell and Gwyneth Pritchard at the RAF Servicing Commando plinth at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas; the Armed Forces Memorial in the background


The Armed Forces Memorial

The Armed Forces Memorial

The Reunion Dinner

Reunion Dinner   The raffle!

Members enjoy the Reunion Dinner

David Orr picks a raffle ticket accompanied by Des Peters and Joe Ronan

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Granting of the Freedom of the Borough of Stafford

The closure of RAF Stafford in 2006 meant that the unique and historic Freedom privileges awarded by the Borough of Stafford to the Station were relinquished. This caused a great gap in the long standing and close relationship which the RAF and Borough had enjoyed for nearly 70 years.

However, the high regard in which the RAF was held was again apparent as Tactical Supply Wing continued to “fly the Flag” (actually the Ensign) by involving itself with the local community. Accordingly, on the 2nd October 2007 the Borough Council passed a resolution to confer the Freedom of the Borough on the Wing which has been based at Stafford for nearly 40 years.

The formal granting of the Freedom with the associated ceremonies was carried out on Saturday 19th April 2008. TSW is the first RAF Unit (as opposed to Station) to be granted such Freedom privileges - another first! The Wing paraded an enhanced Flight and was supported by the fine music of the band of the RAF Regiment. The drill was outstanding. Did the Wing Warrant Officer, Bob McBey, (an Association member) have something to do with it?!

TSW Freedom   TSW Freedom

OC TSW, Wg Cdr Nick Atkinson, passes the Freedom Scroll and Casket to Fg Of Alex Chikhani and escort party during the service in the Collegiate Church of St Mary at Stafford

The TSW contingent march into the Market Square in Stafford Town Centre, let by Sqn Ldr Greg Waterworth


TSW Freedom   TSW Freedom

Councillor Brian Price, Mayor of Stafford Borough, inspects the TSW contingent accompanied by Sqn Ldr Greg Waterworth


Bayonets fixed!


TSW Freedom   TSW Freedom

On Parade.  Wg Cdr Nick Atkinson takes command of the TSW contingent


Wg Cdr Nick Atkinson prepares to exercise the right of Freedom by marching through the town with bayonets fixed and drums beating

Our President ACM Sir Joe French, ably supported by the committee, represented the Association on what was an historic and moving occasion.

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Presentation of the First President's Award

Members will recall that one of the key aims of the Association is to foster esprit de corps, comradeship and welfare of those serving with Tactical Supply Wing. One important mechanism for achieving this aim is the newly introduced President’s Award. SAC “Dutch” Holland is the first recipient of this annual award.

President's Award President's Award

The President's Award - sponsored by JCB

Dutch Holland receives The President's Award for 2007
from Dr Tim Leverton, Head of Engineering at JCB, and
Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French

JCB, a world renowned company, and a major employer in North Staffordshire kindly agreed to sponsor the award. The presentation ceremony was held at their World Headquarters in March. Our President, ACM Sir Joe French, and JCB’s Head of Engineering, Dr Tim Leverton, jointly made the award. It was most appropriate that Dr Leverton presented on behalf of JCB as he headed up the world record breaking JCB Diesel Max team with the car, of course, driven by Wing Commander Andy Green.

President's Award   President's Award

Dutch Holland receiving his commemorative certificate
from Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French

Dutch Holland receiving a JCB model
from Dr Tim Leverton Head of Engineering at JCB

The Citation

Senior Aircraftsman (SAC) Neil “Dutch” Holland joined the Royal Air Force in January 2003 aged 16.   After initial airman training and a 3 year tour at RAF Kinloss, he arrived at Tactical Supply Wing (TSW), in January 2006.

On completion of initial TSW training followed by some minor exercises, SAC Holland deployed as part of the ongoing TSW detachment in Afghanistan in January 2007.   Whilst operating forward in the desert on an aviation support task, he was involved in an incident where his team leader was injured during the rapid offload from a Hercules transport aircraft.   His team leader had to be evacuated, but SAC Holland was able to remain and assumed command of the team, setting up the refuel site and ensured the task continued with maximum output and full efficiency.   In doing so SAC Holland exhibited tremendous leadership and acceptance of responsibility when confronted with an extremely challenging situation.

Following this tour, SAC Holland deployed on a number of exercises supporting forces in the UK and Oman.   Whilst in Oman, SAC Holland was selected to take charge of a shift as a result of his previous solid performances, despite being a relatively junior SAC.   He did so with the now familiar confidence, determination and sound leadership.   In all his ventures on TSW, he has received many praiseworthy comments from his Detachment Commanders, confirming his proactive attitude, extensive trade knowledge and understanding of TSW procedures.  This coupled with his ability to promote good morale, his acceptance of, and enthusiasm for, extra responsibilities, and his exceptional organisational capabilities stand him apart from his peers.

Throughout all his activities there have been a number of recurring themes which focus on justified confidence, strong leadership, dedication and a proactive willingness to assist.   He has become an instrumental and popular team player, and respected throughout TSW.   At MOD Stafford, SAC Holland represents TSW at rugby and behind the scenes assists the team captain by organising the kit and the transport.   He is also the Deputy Secretary of the TSW Amenities Fund, which provides welfare support to TSW personnel deployed on overseas operations.

Thus, whether on operations, exercises, or at MOD Stafford, SAC Holland has consistently displayed an exemplary, proactive, determined and wholly professional performance in all his duties, and as a result has gained an enormous amount of respect on TSW.   Indeed, he meets all parts of the RAF acronym RISE; Respect for others, Integrity, Service before self and Excellence.   As a result of his exemplary performance, SAC Holland has been selected to be the first recipient of the RAF Servicing Commando and Tactical Supply Wing Association President’s Award.

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