Thursday, 30 June 2011

Health concerns over Sodium Dichromate

An article in The Sun reports health concerns of a former SAC after he and colleagues were potentially exposed to sodium dichromate whilst guarding the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in Iraq in 03. A MoD statement reads: 'The RAF and MoD take this potential exposure of personnel very seriously. All UK personnel who may have been exposed were identified at the time and medical screening offered'. If you are worried...More information »

MoD Doubles Council Tax Relief

The MoD is doubling the Council Tax Relief for personnel on eligible operations overseas from 25 to 50%, with effect from 1 Jul 11. Based on the average Council Tax in England, this will amount on average to approx £296 for a six month tour. Andrew Robathan MP, said: "The core principle is that members of the Armed Forces Community do not suffer disadvantage... we are underlining that principle...More information »

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Medal to Celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Members of the Armed Forces are to be presented with a medal to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee on 6 Feb 12. CDS Gen Sir David Richards said: "I know that our Armed Forces will be delighted. This medal recognises the important and difficult job our Armed Forces have carried out defending our nation and its interest and it is a fitting tribute to their dedication and professionalism...More information »

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Shake-up at the Ministry

Lord Levene has been working on his independent and thorough review into how Defence is structured and managed since the Autumn. Publishing the results Liam Fox said: "Since becoming Defence Secretary, I have been determined to bring the way the MoD is run into the 21st century... Lord Levene's report begins the most radical shake up the MoD has seen in a generation...More information »

Monday, 27 June 2011

Punishment?

There are media reports that the three Service chiefs are to be removed from the Defence Board, likely to be seen as punishment for their questioning of the Prime Minister's handling of current ops. Labour's Kevan Jones said: "There will certainly be questions around whether this is a revenge attack for senior officers raising concerns about the Government’s military strategy. It may also damage morale in the Services...More information »

Andy Murray in a bid to help Tickets for Troops

Andy Murray has signed a rare piece and donated it to the next Tickets For Troops fund-raising auction. The set of drawings by artist John Trevillion captured the many moods and actions of Murray, who was so impressed he posted them on his Facebook page. “They’re really, really good,” said the Wimbledon contender and world’s number four. 100.000 members of the Armed Forces have signed up...More information »

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Family Adventures with Mountain and Sea Guides

Mountain and Sea Guides runs adventure activities in Sea Kayaking, Mountaineering, Climbing and Walking throughout the year for all ages and abilities. Lyndsey Buck says: "We understand the importance of service families spending time together and reconnecting. One of the best ways is by doing something fun and challenging and learning something new together. We would therefore like to offer a discount...More information »

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

CEA Review Announcement Expected

It now seems likely that Ministers will be announcing the conclusions of the review into the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) next Tue 28 Jun, by means of a Written Parliamentary Statement. We will bring you more up-to-date news as we receive it... 

Our Stories in RAF News - Falling Foul of the Great Divide

Dear Families Federation, I write to inform you (objectively) how our assignment from Scotland to England hindered us. While in Scotland, our son was referred to a paediatrician. A referral allowed us access to occupational therapy, speech therapy, a play specialist and a health visitor which was just what we needed and we were impressed. The paediatrician thought our son probably had autism. At about the same time, my husband was posted. My husband did request we stay in the Grampian region but was told, “There are NHS doctors wherever you are sent. ”After moving, all the Oxfordshire services placed us on waiting lists. We tried in vain to get him seen. There is no preference for RAF families, despite the policy letter suggesting as such, but they would not budge. The authorities stated the reports from Scotland were invalid. We found we were repeating the same information over and over again. I felt as if we were being treated with disdain and no compassion. It is stressful to move for any Service family, but for a special needs family, it is mind boggling...More information »

"No Future in Libya for Muammar Gaddafi"

Military chiefs from the 15 countries contributing to Op UNIFIED PROTECTOR met at MoD in London yesterday to discuss the future of the campaign. Gen Sir David Richards hosted the discussions. He said: "It is clear from the commitment of those present - Arabs, Europeans and North Americans - that the UN's wish to protect the people of Libya will be enforced...there is no future in Libya for Muammar Gaddafi...More information »

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Airfix Models still capture the Imagination...

The Imperial War Museum Duxford is pleased to announce they are working with Hornby Hobbies this year to provide Airfix 'Make and Paint' activities. Children have the opportunity to make their own Airfix model, paint it and take the finished aviation masterpiece home as a souvenir of their day. Darrell Burge, of Airfix and Humbrol said: “We’re really excited to be provide this great Airfix experience...More information »

Run up to Armed Forces Day - Sat 25 June

Armed Forces Day is a chance for the British public to show their support for the men and women of the Armed Forces Community. Wg Cdr Martin Tinworth at Camp Bastion said: "Whilst Saturday will be a normal working day for personnel serving across Afghanistan it is heartwarming to know the public are thinking of us. The support of the British public is hugely important to us all, especially when we are so far from home...More information »

Warning that the RAF may go into 'Overstretch'

Media reports this morning say a briefing given by ACM Sir Simon Bryant warns that continued operations in Libya would be likely to overstretch the RAF. ACM Bryant is reported to have said, 'Two concurrent operations are placing a huge demand on equipment and personnel. Morale remains fragile although fighting spirit remains positive and that the true strength is in our people who continue to deliver...More information »

Civilian deaths in Tripoli - 'UK Forces not Involved'

Over the weekend there were reports that NATO caused the death of nine Libyan civilians during an air strike on Sun 19 Jun 11 in Tripoli. In response the MoD states: 'No UK forces were operating in the vicinity at the time of the incident. NATO believes it may be responsible for the incident which occurred as a consequence of a weapons system failure...More information »

Monday, 20 June 2011

Basking in the thought of Retirement

14 Sqn's mascot is Squadron Leader Eric Aldrovandi, a 15ft Burmese Python who is taking retirement after 25 years following the sqns disbandment. The Stn Cdr said: "I have noted some admirable qualities in this officer. He lies around doing nothing, whilst other rush in all directions; he never opens his mouth except to eat; he never commits himself to paper in case its wrong and he eats hamsters on social occasions...See full details

'Made in Britain' tonight on BBC2

A new series, 'Made in Britain' starts on BBC2 this evening. Presented by Evan Davis it looks at the strength and importance of UK manufacturing. This first programme features the Typhoon manufactured by BAE Systems. Project Pilot, Nat Makepeace took Evan on a sixty minute test flight. Nat said: Evan was a tremendous passenger, holding his nerve throughout the complex sortie and despite pulling maximum G...More information »

How about a Holiday on the Sussex Coast?

The SE Area of the RAF Association own a holiday home on the coast at Selsey and is offering it as a holiday destination for RAF Serving personnel and their families at very reasonable rates. Located at the Greens Lawn Leisure Park it can sleep five. One family said: "None of us wanted to leave. We had the most relaxing week we've had in a long time with lot of laughter and enough facilities to have all the fun we needed...More information »

Friday, 17 June 2011

Helping Children Stay Positive during a Deployment

Following the success of the RAF Deployment Journals for teenagers with parents serving away, The Victoria Chart Company have designed, on behalf of the RAF Charitable Trust and supported by RAF Community Support, a wall chart for younger children. The 'My Staying Positive Chart' is aimed at children from four years and is designed to encourage a child to record weekly events, set targets and monitor...

Stresses and Strains of an RAF Family

This week the Armed Forces Covenant External Reference Group visited RAF Benson to gain a better understanding of RAF life. The Group included very senior officials from the Cabinet Office, MoD, Other Government Departments and representatives from the Devolved Administrations. In her speech, Chairman of the RAF FF, Dawn McCafferty gave a 'tell-it-like-it-is' view of RAF family life in this unrelenting climate of challenge and change. (Her presentation was based on the evidence provided by RAF family members over the last few years). Dawn said: "The first point I would make is that, for operational effectiveness reasons, there is a genuine need to recognise and deal with the expectations and needs of RAF families across a wide range of issues. If the RAF is to recruit and retain sufficient high calibre personnel and deliver an effective workforce to the front-line, wherever that may be, they need to ensure that their uniformed personnel are free from worries about the family members they have left behind...More information »

The RAF is 'Completely and Utterly Essential'

The Prime Minister has said the RAF is not just important to the nation’s security but is 'completely and utterly essential'. David Cameron was speaking at a graduation at Cranwell this week. He said: "Following the Defence Review, we are making changes... But let me be very clear. I will not - will never - compromise our nation's security. We are doing this to strengthen our armed forces for the future...More information »

Free Meals offered for Armed Forces Day

Crown Carveries are offering free meals in their pub restaurants leading up to Armed Forces Day. From 20 - 25 Jun inclusive, they are inviting all Service people, past and present, to enjoy a roast dinner on them. Martin Gosling, Retail Operations Director said: “As the UK’s only regal carvery brand it is only fitting that we support the Armed Forces. We hope a meal on the house will provide a hearty morale boost...More information »

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Problems at the Aldershot HIC

The Aldershot Housing Information Office are experiencing problems. The office has recently taken on the allocation of all SFA in the London area. A spokesman for the DIO said: "Whilst preparations were made for this change, the Aldershot HIC is receiving a far higher number of calls than anticipated and we recognise that some customers are finding it very difficult to get through. Advice is that routine requests...More information »

The Summer 11 Issue of Envoy is now available.

In this issue: The Ressettlement Team have advice for those facing Redundancy; There is the news that Decompression is now for everyone returning from Op HERRICK; We have a report from Afghanistan on some rather awesome flying and much, much more...
Envoy, the quarterly magazine of the RAF Families Federation, is delivered to Stns/Units where there are RAF personnel and is always available from the HIVE.

Or if you would prefer your own copy you can register on our website and we will deliver it FREE of any charge to your door - Why? Because we, and the RAF, would like you to read it!  

Monday, 13 June 2011

Falklands Scare - "Is without Substance"

In a letter in the Daily Telegraph, Admiral Sir John Woodward, the head of the naval task force during the Falklands conflict, has warned that defence cuts mean Britain could now do 'precisely nothing' to prevent Argentina retaking the islands. In reply, a spokesman from the MoD said: "Claims that the Falkland Islands could be taken without a fight are completely without substance...More information »

Bulldozing of Quarters at Daws Hill

The Sun has reported that 65 new RAF homes at Daws Hill are to be bulldozed to make way for a housing estate. In response the MoD have said: 'There is no long-term defence need for this land or the houses. In these difficult financial times we have to make difficult decisions. We regret that the families concerned will be required to move. The care and support of Service families is paramount and they will be given support...More information »

Bereavement Grants for Eligible Service Children

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme makes provision to pay bereavement grants to a surviving partner where the death of the individual was as a result of service. A recent case highlighted that in cases where a child receives the AFPS lump sum and an AFCS Child Payment, he/she is not eligible for an AFCS bereavement grant. The MoD consider this inequitable and plan to change the rules to allow such payments...More information »

The Queen's Birthday Honours List and other RAF Awards

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2011 has been published. Anyone can be nominated for an honour but only exceptional people receive one. People from across the UK have received honours in recognition of outstanding achievement and service. Here is a list of those within the RAF who have received honours this year. Also listed are other awards within the Air Force and the latest Air Rank appointments...More information »

"Go On-line and Get Involved"

Jenny Ward, Evidence Manager at the RAF Families Federation, in an interview with BFBS Radio, encourages RAF Serving personnel and their families to 'Go on-line and get involved' and particularly wished to encourage personnel and family members to complete the Federation's newly launched on-line surveys. Jenny was attending a families event at Brize Norton organised by Mel Bushnell of the HIVE. Jenny said: "We are promoting our on-line survey activity. The surveys are password protected and will be rolled out across the RAF over the next few months but if anyone is really keen to come on-line and tell us what they think now then give the team a call and they will provide the password".Shirley Swain asked Jenny the issues the Federation was coming up against at the moment, about the impact of SDSR, the move from Lyneham to Brize, future housing and other issues of concern...See full details

Rumours about Northwood Quashed

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has announced that Northwood Headquarters will be retained as a key NATO command HQ. Northwood was under threat of closure as NATO works to streamline its command structures to become a leaner, more flexible organisation. He said: "As one of the leading contributors to NATO operations it is only right that NATO retains a command presence on British soil...More information »

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Reservists take Centre Stage

The media are reporting that the Prime Minister is to tell the Forces they should recruit more part-time soldiers and rely on them to prepare Britain for war, natural disasters and terrorist attacks.The MoD have responded by saying: "Reserve Forces remain an essential part of the UK's Armed Forces. The Future Reserves 2020 study is about ensuring we meet our future needs and will report back in the Summer...More information »

The Queen's Birthday Flypast on Saturday

The RAF will help celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday with a flypast over Buckingham Palace at 1pm on Sat 11 Jun 11. The flypast will be made up of 25 aircraft - 11 different types, from the World War ll Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster to modern multi-role Typhoon fighters and the Red Arrows aerobatic display team. A Chinook and two Pumas will lead the formation representing the role of helicopters on operations...                    More information »

Friday, 3 June 2011

All Agree Defence Spending must Rise

Several newspapers have reported that the CGS, Gen Sir Peter Wall, has stated defence spending must be increased if Britain is to maintain its war-fighting capabilities. The Gen is reported to have said, '...we will certainly require a real-terms growth in the latter part of the decade if we are to resource Future Force 2020’. In response the MoD have said, "General Wall's comments are consistent with the Prime...More information »

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Cyberspace Warning

The MoD has launched a campaign encouraging Service personnel to be careful when posting information on social networking sites. Maj Gen John Lorimer said: "I am a big fan of Facebook and Twitter and I use them on a regular basis. These channels are vital to communicating but posting details of operational events, locations, travel details and people's addresses could give the UK's enemies the upper hand...          See full details

Successful Targeting of Gaddafi Regime Goes On

Typhoon and Tornado jets struck ten Gaddafi-regime ammunition storage bunkers and a military vehicle yesterday. Maj Gen John Lorimer, said: "As NATO operations have taken their toll of stockpiles closer to the coast, the regime has become increasingly dependent on Waddan for the ammunition to sustain its attacks on the civilian population. RAF VC-10 tankers, Sentinel, Sentry and Nimrod R1 continue to provide...           More information »

RAF Flylingdales gets an Airing on the 'One Show'

The work of RAF Fylingdales gets a national showcase tomorrow with a slot on BBC1’s One Show. Presenter Phil Tufnell gets a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility as part of the show’s 'Glimpsed At Speed' as he travels around in his car, spots something interesting and investigates. Phil said, "I’ve driven past Fylingdales countless times and like everyone else have often wondered what really goes on...More information »