Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Sgt John 'BJ' Lewis reads his Poem on the One Show - tonight

Tonight, Wed 30 Nov, The One Show on BBC1 starting at 7pm will feature a five minute feature film on War Poets showcasing the poetry of serving and retired Armed Forces personnel. One of the serving personnel seen and heard reading his poem is Sgt John ‘BJ’ Lewis, a RAF Trade Group 12 SNCO. Sgt Lewis’ poem called ‘Incoming’ and was written following his experiences on Operation TELIC in 2008...More information »

Taking UK Fast Jet Training into the Future

19(Reserve) Sqn has been disbanded. Replacing it is IV(Reserve) Sqn which has been reformed to become the Hawk T2 unit to take the UK’s fast jet training forward into the future. Sqn Ldr Robin Caine, OC C Flt, IV Sqn said: "Our pilots will be ready to take on the challenges of Eurofighter Typhoon, Joint Strike Fighter and deliver air power effects whenever and wherever we are called on...More information »

Autumn Statement - Armed Forces

George Osborne’s 2011 Autumn statement confirmed the country's worsening economic outlook. The Chancellor has taken further measures to curb expenditure and on public sector pay has capped pay rises to 1% beyond the two-year pay freeze currently in place. Since the announcement the Treasury has confirmed that this cap on pay will also apply to the Armed Forces. The MoD is seeking urgent clarification...More information »

DIO ask all SFA Applicants to use the e-1132

The e-1132 is the electronic version of 'Application to occupy Service Family Accommodation' and was launched just over a year ago. As well as improving the efficiency of the allocations service, DIO firmly believe many more Service personnel would benefit from the advantages using the e-1132 has to offer. In their bid to speed up their processes from 1 Dec 11 illegible paper versions will be returned...More information »

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

'Thank You' from the Russian Ambassador

The Russian Ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko, has thanked Prince William and the crew of the RAF SAR Flt for their attempts to rescue the crew of a sinking Russian cargo vessel. The Ambassador wrote: 'All day long we were anxiously following the operation. We know that you took an active part in the rescue and the two seamen were saved thanks to your selfless effort. Let me express my deepest gratitude...More information »

BBC 1: Phil Tuffnell climbs Stenigot Mast with the RAF

On Wednesday's One Show Phil Tuffnell continues his tour of the UK looking at iconic RAF structures. The 110m mast at RAF Stenigot was part of the country's long-range early warning radar during WW2 - today it is used to train Service personnel. Phil said: “I climbed to the top and I was terrified! I’ve got nothing but admiration for the lads who train on the tower and the RAF people who work at heights in war zones...More information »

Demise of Armed Forces SAR in the UK

The Department for Transport has announced the start of the procurement process to replace UK-wide Armed Forces Search and Rescue with a civilian service and civilian crews. The Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, said: "It will enable our Armed Forces to focus on front line operations. It will also ensure the MoD is able to meet its previously announced intention to retire its fleet of Sea Kings by Mar 16...More information »

Tickets for Troops - Bumper Christmas Giveaway

Tickets for Troops is enlisting the help of the Armed Forces to design their 2011 Christmas card. Director Raleigh Addington said: “Christmas is a time for family and we want everyone to get involved. Tickets for Troops have also announced a bumper Christmas giveaway of free tickets to members the Armed Forces and their families. Tickets include premiere football, pantomimes, music concerts and West End shows...More information »

A National Memorial to the Few

A new state of the art visitor centre is planned for the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne in Kent. The building, in the shape of a double Spitfire wing, will look across the Channel to the French coast, from where the Luftwaffe would have appeared in the Summer of 1940. The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust hope the attraction will bring to life the experience of those who took part in the Battle of Britain...More information »

Monday, 28 November 2011

Redesign of Armed Forces Pensions

The Government paper ‘Public Service Pensions: Good pensions that will last’, sets out its preferred option for future public service pensions. Proposals for the new Armed Forces pension scheme will be developed within this overall framework. Because the Armed Forces have no trade union representation, the Future Armed Forces Pension Scheme team will consult with both the Treasury and personnel...More information »

Chief of the Air Staff in a frank interview with Martha Kearney

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, spoke this week to Martha Kearney of Radio 4 about what he termed 'the most uncomfortable day of my time' when he had to tell 170 trained aircrew that there were no longer jobs for them. He spoke about the RAF's role in the Libya, Afghanistan, the spending cuts, RAF redundancies and rethinking on the scrapping of Sentinel. He said Prince William...More information »

Digging the Great Escape - This evening on Channel 4

The programme follows engineers, archaeologists and serving RAF personnel who on the site of Stalag Luft III excavate the remains of 'Harry', the tunnel from which 76 allied airmen escaped on the night of 24 Mar 44. Gp Capt Dave Waddington, Stn Cdr at Cranwell and a PoW himself during the first Gulf War, co-ordinated the RAF’s involvement in the film. He said: “It was a tremendous opportunity for all of us at the...More information »

Friday, 25 November 2011

Harrier Fleet Sale to US goes Through

The MoD has sold its fleet of Harrier aircraft to the US for $180m. Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology said: "Harrier served this country with great distinction, but retiring it eight years earlier than planned was the right decision. Had we taken the decision to decommission Tornado instead we would not have been able to carry out the missions simultaneously in Libya and Afghanistan...More information »

The Winter 11 Issue of Envoy now out! View it Online!

In this issue: First words to RAF families from the new Secretary of State for Defence; A Christmas message from the Chief of the Air Staff; The Federation have told the AFPRB what families think; An inviation for adventure to 14-18 year olds; A report on BFBS in Afghanistan this Christmas and much, much more...Click Here

Friday, 18 November 2011

Our Stories in RAF News - Damp and Mould

Periodically in RAF News the Federation uses the evidence someone has provided to illustrate a topic of concern. The cases illustrate where policy is not quite fair or is outdated, or where there is disadvantage purely because that someone is a member of an RAF family. Here we feature two further stories: Sibling Schooling. "Dear RAF FF, We have just been posted, only to find that the local primary schools are full and our two children have been allocated places in schools fifteen miles apart. The Local Authority won’t budge and we are at our wit’s end. Mould: "Dear RAF FF. We are having real problems with damp and mould and are being bounced between DIO and MHS. I was advised by the doctor that a pre-existing condition was being aggravated by the spores. I am also pregnant and concerned for the health of our unborn child. Why will no-one acknowledge that these houses have a major problem and actually do something about it...More information »

Ban on Tornado Flying Lifted

The ban on non- essential flying of Tornados has been lifted by the MoD. The ban however remains in force for the Hawk T1, T2 and Tucano. A MoD spokesman said: "Following consideration of safety and engineering advice, the RAF chain of command has authorised the resumption of all Tornado GR4 flying operations without restriction. The RAF is still reviewing other available evidence regarding Hawk T1, T2 and Tucano...More information »

New Series - Frontline Medicine - starts Sunday

A new two-part series starts at 9pm on Sun 20 Nov 11 on BBC2. Presenter Michael Mosley goes from frontline war to frontline research to uncover how medics are achieving the highest survival rate of injured personnel in the history of warfare. He discovers how new equipment issued to troops on the ground is saving lives in the critical ten minutes after injury and how changes to transfusions developed in Afghan...More information »

'Make You Feel My Love'

Choirmaster Gareth Malone believes singing can help people through the most difficult of times. In the last of three episodes on Monday evening at 9pm, BBC2, Gareth continues at Chivenor where troops are four months info a six-month tour in Afghanistan. Gareth has started a choir of the wives and girlfriends from all three Services left behind and develops their longing to have a voice to express themselves...More information »

Monday, 14 November 2011

All 74 Harriers to the sold to the United States

It is understood the US government is finalising a deal with the MoD to purchase all 74 of the UK's decommissioned Harriers together with their spare parts currently 'mothballed' at RAF Cottesmore. A MoD spokesman has confirmed the department is working on a deal with the US with regard to the 'sale of Harrier assets', but said it would be 'inappropriate to comment further...More information »

Ross Kemp is 'Back on the Frontline'

Ross Kemp returns to Afghanistan in 'Back On The Frontline' on Sky 1 this evening (Mon 14 Nov) at 9pm. In this new five-part series on Afghanistan he marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and British troops' arrival in Helmand. Kemp said: "It’s the third series, but it’s my tenth trip. I really enjoy what I do. It's very fulfilling. If I'd stayed an actor, I certainly wouldn't have met as many interesting people...More information »

Warning: Concentrations of Heavy Metals - Dawes Hill

Ground tests have been carried out in gardens at Dawes Road Estate, Uxbridge and show elevated concentrations of heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and small fragments of asbestos in some areas. DIO have issued the following advice to occupants: limit the use of the garden and surrounding land; ensure children and pets do not consume dig or play in the soil; do not grow fruit or vegetables...More information »

The Choir: Military Wives, this evening, 9pm

Choirmaster Gareth Malone believes singing can help people through the most difficult of times. In the second of three episodes this evening on BBC2 at 9pm Gareth continues at Chivenor where troops have deployed for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Gareth has started a choir of the wives and girlfriends from all three Services left behind and develops their longing to have a voice to express themselves...More information »

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The British Army is on the Move

The first Army unit moves has been confirmed by the MoD. 1,800 troops based in Germany will from Jan 12 be brought back to the UK. This includes troops moving into former RAF bases at Cottesmore and Kinloss and into Wittering. Gen Sir Peter Wall said: "The new basing arrangements allow the Army to reinforce vital links with local communities. This will include working closely with our counterparts in the RAF...More information »

Flt Lt Wales is Deployed to the Falklands

Flight Lieutenant William Wales will complete a routine deployment to the Falkland Islands as part of a crew of four RAF personnel. He will be deployed from Feb to Mar 2012. This deployment forms part of a normal squadron crew rotation and will form part of Flt Lt Wales' training and career progression as a Search and Rescue pilot within the RAF...More information »

'Dutch' - the RAF's Millionaire Star

A remembrance special of TV quiz programme 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' was aired last night, featuring celebrities teaming up with members of the Armed Forces to win money for Service charities. Flying the flag for the RAF was Sgt Derek 'Dutch' Holland who, paired with comedian and actor John Thomson, won £50,000 but sadly their winning streak could not continue as the programme ran out of time...More information »

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Applying for Local Authority Housing?

Are you trying to apply for Local Authority housing for when you leave the RAF? Have you had a 'Cessation of Entitlement to SFA' certificate rejected? Some Local Authorities are not accepting these certificates in support of an application for housing and say families must supply an eviction notice or be homeless. This is not as it should be and we need to hear from you please if you have or are experiencing this problem...More information »

RAF Grounds Aircraft with the Mk10 Ejector Seat

The RAF have taken the decision to temporarily ground all non-essential flights of aircraft fitted with the Mk10 ejector seat following the fatal accident involving a member of the Red Arrows yesterday. A MoD spokesman said: "The safety of our crews remains our paramount concern". Aircraft with this type of ejector seat are the Hawk T1, Tornado and Tucano...More information »

Pilot named as Sean Cunningham

The Red Arrows pilot who lost his life yesterday has been named as Sean Cunningham. His mother, father and sister said, "Sean was a much-loved son and brother who will be dearly missed by all his family and his many good friends. Since childhood Sean had dreamed of flying fast jets in the RAF; He loved his flying. His fun-loving nature never failed to put a smile on the faces of those who knew and loved...More information »

Red Arrows Lose a second Member

The MoD have confirmed that a Red Arrows pilot was killed yesterday in a ground incident when they were ejected from their aircraft. Gp Capt Simon Blake, Commandant of the RAF's Central Flying School at Scampton said: "It is with great regret that I can confirm there has been a ground incident involving one of the RAF Aerobatic Team's Hawk aircraft that has resulted in the death of the pilot. Our thoughts and prayers...See full details

Remembrance Week on TV and Radio

Stories of RAF sacrifice and professionalism are broadcast this week as BBC Daytime marks the run-up to this year’s Remembrance Sunday with five morning programmes of heart warming stories involving courage and sacrifice. Also, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Remembrance Special:Hugh Bonneville, Melanie Sykes and John Thomson team up with members of the Armed Forces to try and raise money for the Benevolent...More information »

Increasing Understanding of the Armed Forces

The MoD has announced the first community projects to receive Covenant funding. Each project benefits both Armed Forces personnel and the civilian population. Andrew Robathan said: There is already a deep respect of our Armed Forces and these projects will help to provide a greater understanding of Service life and enmesh the ties between military personnel and the civilian population...See full details

Gareth Malone's Choir of Military Wives

Choirmaster Gareth Malone believes singing can help people through the most difficult of times. In the first of three episodes starting this evening on BBC2 at 9pm Gareth goes to Chivenor where troops are about to deploy for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Gareth hopes to start a choir with the wives and girlfriends left behind and discovers their longing to have a voice to express their worry...See full details

Monday, 7 November 2011

Meeting with the Minister

This week Chairman of the RAF Families Federation, together with the other her opposite numbers in the Army and Naval FFs, met with Andrew Robathan MP, Minister for Defence Personnel Welfare and Veterans and took full advantage of the opportunity to ensure he fully appreciated the family perspective on military life. During the meeting Dawn brought up the subjects of Pay and Allowances; the impact of SDSR; MoD Accommodation and the Armed Forces Covenant. Also discussed were the New Employment Model and resettlement. Dawn's full notes on the meeting are included here. If you would like your views to be represented at the next Family Forum with the Minister, tell us what you think...See full details

No Disadvantage

The principles of the Armed Forces Covenant have been enshrined in law for the first time after the Armed Forces Bill received Royal Assent today. CDS, Gen Sir David Richards said: "The Covenant enshrines the principle that members of the Armed Forces Community do not suffer disadvantage as a result of their service and, where appropriate, receive special treatment. I welcome this wholeheartedly...More information »

Shop online and Help RAF Charities

easyfundraising. and easysearch are simple ways to use the search engine or shop online and raise money for good causes in the process. The RAF supports the three charities, The RAF Benevolent Fund, RAF Association and RAF Air Cadets (including Combined Cadets Force RAF Section) and Air Member for Personnel (AMP) is encouraging involvement in this initiative...More information »

RAF Man Selected for GB Bobsleigh Squad

An airman from RAF Boulmer has been selected for the Great Britain Bobsleigh squad on the European and World stage this winter. Cpl Keith McLaughlin only became interested in the sport by chance when a work colleague who was attending trials for a novice camp at Cosford invited him along on the day. He said: "Its all about teamwork and very much like being on detachment – you live, sleep, eat and travel together...More information »

Nick Clegg says 'Thank You' at RAF Waddington

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has visited RAF Waddington to welcome home and congratulate military personnel who have returned from operations over Libya at the end of the eight month campaign. In his address he said: "Your skill, your commitment and your bravery made the difference. You have saved countless lives and have performed magnificently in testing times...See full details

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Chris Evans' Mystery Guest is Wg Cdr Andy Turk

Wg Cdr Andy Turk who flew back into RAF Marham with other Tornado's of IX Sqn was on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show this morning as Chris' Mystery Guest. It was the fab photograph that appeared all over the media as the most wonderful welcome home anyone could receive from his two young sons that got him there. Andy said: "I didn't know it was going to happen, I thought they would be at school...More information »

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Typhoon Crews now in Malaysia

Four RAF Typhoon aircraft from Number 6 Sqn have flown from their base in Scotland to the Royal Malaysian Air Force airbase in Butterworth, Malaysia to take part in Ex BERSAMA LIMA 11. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond who is also out there said: “I am delighted we were able to deploy Typhoon for the duration of this Five Powers Defence Agreement exercise. Following my discussions with the other FPDA members...More information »

The Ghost of Nigger still thought to pad around RAF Scampton

A story is circulating that the ghost of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson's dog Nigger still pads around RAF Scampton. The story of Nigger is immortalised in the film of 'The Dam Busters'. Guy Gibson led the Dambuster raid to destroy dams of the Ruhr on the night of Sun 16 May 43. Just before the crews left Scampton his faithful black Labrador was run over and killed. Now paranormal investigators have picked up readings...More information »

Irritation at CEA is posted on Facebook

A member of Facebook has posted a piece on the RAF Families Federation wall on the subject of CEA. It reads: "I am disgusted with the RAF at the moment and the whole boarding school allowance! Looks like they are trying to take it off all ground crew so its now turning it into a them and us allowance! In the process they are putting stress on families especially those who have had to take there child out of boarding... Chairman of the RAF FF, Dawn McCafferty responds, in part Dawn agrees by saying "Whilst the perceived lack of future mobility undermines an on-going entitlement to CEA, to remove a child who has already settled into a boarding environment when the serving parents were previously assessed as mobile, is to jeopardise the very continuity of education the allowance was supposed to deliver ...More information »

'A Space to Remember

A Remembrance Day photography exhibition entitled 'A Space to Remember' is being held at St Clement Danes Church. Designed in part as a tribute to those who gave their lives in the Battle of Britain, half of the exhibition presents architectural images of the Church itself, the other half consists of landscape images of Battle of Britain airfields as they are today, often decaying or built over. The exhibition runs from 1-21 Nov...More information »

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Air Marshal Peach summarises Operations over Libya

The UN Security Council have taken the decision to end the mandate for operations in Libya. The operation was under the command of Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, he said: "We were a bit surprised at how quickly things moved on. We had the USCR 97 at the end of Feb, the National Transition Council established 5 Mar and then the no-fly zone was established. In quick time, some very successful operations were developed...More information »