It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Air Commodore David Norriss (OC 41(F) Sqn 84-87). He passed away over the weekend from complications following routine surgery. He was described as: "a much loved ‘proper officer’ who was liked and respected by all with whom he engaged."
David started his flying career as a Vulcan Air Electronics Operator from 1964-1971. He graduated from pilot training in 1971 and after completing a tour as a flying instructor, joined the Jaguar force as the aircraft first entered service in 1975.
Following his command tour on 41 (F) Squadron, he served an exchange posting at the USAF University in Alabama, returning to the UK as Station Commander of RAF Chivenor. As an Air Commodore, he was the Air Attache & Assistant Defence Attache in Washington DC from 95-00.
These pictures of David Norriss were kindly forwarded by the Military Secretary of the Sqn Association from the F540:
The first is his arrival as the Boss, then there are 2 from a RED FLAG deployment, one of him presenting the old Standard to be hung up when the new one was delivered and finally a couple from his Dining Out Night in 1987.
Dear All, it is with great sadness that we have to notify the Squadron family of the passing of David Norriss, Officer Commanding 41 (F) Squadron from 1987 to 1989. The funeral service will be held in Horsham on the 27th of February, full details are listed below courtesy of Sir Peter Norriss.
As you kindly wrote to me following David’s death, I thought I’d let you know the arrangements for his funeral, though some of you will also get the information from other sources. It will take place at 1330 on Tuesday 27th February 2018 at:
St Mary’s Church
You cannot park in the Causeway and parking options in the immediate vicinity of the church are very limited. We would therefore recommend you park in one of the town centre car parks and walk to the church. Most of the car parks are within 5 - 15 minutes’ walk. The following link: https://www.horsham.gov.uk/parking/town-centre-parking will show you the car-parking options in the town centre, the cost and how you pay. The closest ones to the church are:
The Forum, Blackhorse Way (5 minutes)
Denne Road (5 minutes, although this is a small car park and can be difficult to park)
Piries Place (5-10 minutes)
There is also a large multi-storey car park attached to the Swan Walk Shopping Centre but this is a slightly further walk than the others (10-15 minutes)
Following the service those attending are invited for afternoon tea at Mannings Heath Golf Club and Wine Estate, Hammerpond Road, Mannings Heath, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 6PG where the family will join them after a family-only burial in a local cemetery.
Those planning to attend the service and wake are asked to let me know so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Family flowers only please. If you wish to make a donation to charity in memory of David, the family have asked for these to be made to the RAF Benevolent Fund and/or Dementia UK. These can be donated at the Church, sent directly to either the Funeral Director (Freeman Brothers, 9 North Parade, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 2BF) or to the charity concerned.
Information taken from: https://www.rafbf.org/
The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity with a proud tradition of looking after its own. We are there for all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children.
Flt Lt Laura Frowen will be taking part in one of the toughest adventure races in the world: The GODZone Pure. The race runs from 1st-10th March 2018, in the stunning Fiordland in New Zealand. More than 390 racers, from around the world, will compete in unsupported teams of four, travelling across approximately 373 miles (600km) of wilderness. The race will consist of up to 10 days of non-stop racing, including sleeping in the elements, navigating at night, as well as canyoning, coasteering, kayaking, running, mountain biking, orienteering, packrafting and trekking.
The team are no strangers to a challenge. They are drawn from a dozen or so people across the service who have competed together over the past 4 years, fitting races in around their operational deployments. Jamie Buckle is the captain and driving force behind the team. He has competed in 3 AR World Series races and 2 European Series AR events as well as many one-day events in the UK. Recently he completed the Jurassic Coast Challenge (100km from Poole to Bridport) and the Ring of Fire (135 miles around Anglesey). Laura Frowen, navigator, first started adventure racing in a 4 day Hebridean Challenge in 2006 and after a hiatus took up the sport again in 2015. She has competed in an AR World Series race (2017) as well as a Euro Series AR event (2016). As an ultra runner, she has completed the Northern Traverse (190 miles and 16000 ft of ascent across northern England) and several UK Series Mountain Marathons. Charlie Butterfield raced the Euro Series AR (2016), and has competed in the Jurassic Coast Challenge and Marmot Dark Mountains mountain marathon. And Penny Grayson, the most recent addition to the team, brings proven endurance and athletic power after many years of racing ironman triathlon (as a GB age-group athlete) as well as completing the Jurassic Coast Challenge and the Ridgeway Challenge (86 miles along the Ridgeway to Avebury Stones).
Laura Frowen explains how adventure racing can be so inspirational:
For me the defining moment in recent races was in Expedition Africa in early 2017. It was the end of Day 3, and we had spent 2 hours queuing at the top of the Tyrolean Traverse, waiting for our turn and catching some sleep. We got going at about 0100hrs and after an uneventful abseil across the river, with the water glinting below in the dark, we started canoeing downriver. It was my first experience of night paddling and the still, inky water was unnerving. I felt great - really awake and full of energy - but kept losing my balance as the dark water seemed to give me an odd sense of vertigo. (That, and when I stopped to check the map, the fact I couldn’t work out which was the front of the paddle blade, told me that in fact I was, in fact, very, very tired!!) But the chance to paddle down this remote river in the middle of South Africa, with the stars overhead, was utterly magical, one of those moments when you have to stop and just think: “Wow, look at where I am and what we’re all doing!” Coming from a background in ultra running, I love being able to share these moments with other people. After something to eat at the end of the paddle section, we headed out on a trek section which started with a bracing swim across the river just as the sun was coming up.
The following information has been taken from the RAFA website:
Recent research has found that isolation and loneliness is particularly acute within the ex-military community, with one in six individuals reporting relationship/isolation issues.
Tackling loneliness is a key part of the RAF Association’s mission for the 21st century. Research indicates at least 170,000 RAF veterans could be living alone, or experiencing isolation issues. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, it’s a bigger threat to life than obesity and more dangerous to health than smoking. The lonely are more likely to need medication, suffer from depression or dementia and end up in residential care.
Our befriending service pairs volunteers with veterans and their families who suffer from loneliness and isolation.
THE OTHER ENEMY
The Luftwaffe was not the only enemy as the so-called ‘Phoney War’ continued into the new year; the weather also wrought havoc this winter in England’s northeast.
The first serious snows had fallen in November 1939, which made flying difficult. After one particularly heavy dumping, snow ploughs were brought out and every available hand at the station was issued a spade or similar tool and put to work clearing a usable landing strip. After much sweat and effort, a single runway was cleared, which was lined with large mounds of shovelled snow. It was intersected at various points with entry and exit paths leading to the perimeter track and dispersals areas.
It was a bitterly cold winter throughout the United Kingdom and at the beginning of January 1940 the country experienced its coldest conditions since 1894, the thermometer falling below 0°F in many places. The Thames froze over at Kingston, lochs froze up in Scotland, and ice covered stretches of the Humber, Mersey and Severn. The southeast suffered its heaviest snowfall for forty years.
On the Continent, the icy conditions stretched from Scandinavia to Italy. France reported it was their coldest winter since 1917 and several people died of the cold in Italy, the temperature falling in Milan in late January 1940 to 14°F. Even on the other side of the Atlantic, Washington DC bemoaned the fall of 15 inches of snow, whilst Richmond, Virginia, experienced the heaviest snowfall in over 30 years.
RAF Catterick, too, was hit with heavy snows in late January. Seven inches were dumped on the aerodrome on the 22nd of the month, and more snowfall followed on the 26th and 27th. As a result, the airfield was closed on 27 January, and all operations were cancelled until the end of the month.
Plt Off ‘Wally’ Wallens recalled the difficulties facing him and his fellow pilots in the snow;
“It was a very dodgy operation, taking off and landing in such conditions, particularly with the Spitfires having such restricted visibility when taxying [sic], ploughing about in clouds of snow, pilots not knowing whether they were on or off the runway.
[…] Landing on packed snow in bright sunlight could be very tricky as, like landing an amphibian on still, glassy water, one’s judgement of height could be so affected that one might hold off much too high or virtually fly into the deck with a resounding thump.”(1)
On 29 January, two runways were cleared for emergency flying by 400 men from the Catterick Army Camp and, on 1 February, 219 Squadron’s Blenheims were permitted to fly again; permission for 41 Squadron’s Spitfires followed a day later. The weather did not, however, improve a great deal into the first weeks of February and flying was kept to a minimum. Flt Sgt ‘Shippy’ Shipman recalled the monotony of this lack of activity,
“There were many long hours of waiting and thinking. One read books and played cards until one was sick of both. Boredom was the immediate enemy, and sleep was often the result. We had one young pilot officer who became so irritable, angry and tensed up that he did nothing but pace up and down by himself; he was almost a nervous wreck. Another pilot went down with an ulcer.”(2)
[Excerpt from my “Blood, Sweat and Courage” (Fonthill, 2014). Sharing permitted, but no reproduction without prior permission.
Quotes: (1) "Flying Made My Arms Ache"; Sqn Ldr R. W. ‘Wally’ Wallens, DFC, retd., 1990, Self Publishing Association Ltd; (2) "One of ‘The Few’; The Memoirs of Wing Commander Ted ‘Shippy’ Shipman AFC", John Shipman, 2008, Pen & Sword. Image © Swanwick family.]
Very pleased to announce that former OC 41 Sqn, Gp Capt Rich Davies, who will be known to many of you, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. Our heart-felt congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.
Original Article and Video Content: Forces.net
British Army, Royal Navy and RAF personnel around the world and their families have been thanked for their service and support in Christmas messages from the heads of the Armed Forces.
The nation has been asked to spare a thought for the thousands of serving members of the military on deployment overseas, many of whom will be away from their families during the festive season, as the heads of the services expressed their gratitude and thanks.
Theresa May added to the praise and wished a Happy Christmas to all Britain’s armed forces overseas as she opened Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday morning.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson paid a seasonal visit to members of the Household Cavalry who will be working over the festive period.
During a visit to Horse Guards Parade, Mr Williamson praised the commitment of the military personnel who will be carrying out their duties to keep the nation safe over Christmas.
Families of serving personnel have also been thanked for their part in supporting the military and told that, without them, our armed forces would not be able to serve with the same degree of confidence with which they carry out their duties throughout the world.
The words of thanks come at a time when many personnel overseas are sending their own heartfelt messages to families back home as they prepare to spend the festive season serving their country away from loved ones.
The military chiefs all gave their thanks and gratitude to their servicemen and servicewomen at home and around the world for all their efforts in serving their country.
General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, told Forces Network that 2017 had been a very busy year for the Army both at home and overseas, saying that at any one day, there had been about 25,000 soldiers either committed to operations or ready to standby on operations.
Sir Nick said: “We’ve taken on some new commitments this year. We’ve got the battlegroup that’s deployed in Estonia at the moment, some 800 soldiers with a number of our more important allies.
"The French and the Danes now are going to be working with us there and we’ve had a hundred or so soldiers deployed on a similar mission in Poland and then we’ve been very busy with the UN in South Sudan - I’m sure people will have seen the television programme on that.
“We’ve had people in Afghanistan and Iraq, a huge number of training teams, over 200 deployed in Africa and the Middle East and then of course, nearer home, we’ve had people committed to being at readiness in the event of another terrorist incident.
“I think the characterisation I would say of the world at the moment is, the defining condition seems to be, instability, so for the British Army there’s always going to be an awful lot to do but we recruit people that want to do stuff, so that, in a sense is hugely rewarding.”
As the world heads into the festive season, Sir Nick said: “We will have about 3,000 soldiers deployed overseas and on operations, so I think spare a thought for them.
“Spare a thought for the families who perhaps aren’t able to be with them.
“A particular thank you to our families for all the support they’ve provided during the course of 2017 and I know will do in 2018.
“Without our families, frankly, the system wouldn’t work and our soldiers wouldn’t be able to do what they do with the confidence that they do it.
“So a huge sense of gratitude and I very much hope that most people will be able to put their feet up and enjoy the festive period with families when they’re together, and thank you for everything you do.”
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, added his own message to members of the service, saying: “To those of the Royal Air Force across the whole force of our capabilities who are spending Christmas away from their families and their loved ones, I would just like to say thank you for your fantastic commitment.
“The job that you are doing on an hour by hour basis on operations is vital to our success.
“It continues 24/7 so thank you very much indeed for those efforts.
“I am acutely conscious though that you’ll be missing home and your families will be missing you.
“They will be reassured I hope to a degree of the importance of the job that you are doing, but you, like them, will be looking forward to a safe and speedy return home when the time comes.
“But for now, I’d simply like to say thank you again and a very Merry Christmas.”
Admiral Sir Phillip Jones, First Sea Lord, added to the messages for Armed Forces personnel in time for Christmas, saying: “It’s very important that we keep them in our thoughts and our prayers and our minds at all times.
“The Royal Navy is a 365 day a year operation and I have experienced that myself in my earlier sea going career, a number of Christmases spent away at sea away, away serving the UK’s interests and that will be equally so this year.
“Perhaps particularly my thoughts focus on the crew of one of our deterrent submarines lurking somewhere below the waters of the Atlantic pursuing the role they fill every day of every month of every year for the last 49 years.
“And I’m keenly aware that it’s not just the impact on the ships companies themselves.
“It’s their families and their loved ones who will feel the separation from them at Christmas.
“So they will be especially in my heart as they go about their duties and as they fulfil their commitment to the Navy and to the Nation this Christmas.”
Our Armed Forces make the sacrifice of serving away from family every Christmas and throughout the year.
Serving personnel on active operations around the world, including Estonia, Afghanistan and South Sudan, and personnel serving in Brunei, Germany, Canada, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Bahrain, Falkland Islands, the Gulf, Nigeria and Somalia, have been sending personal messages back home to their families to Forces Network as their service to the country separates them from their loved ones at this special time of year.
The Ministry of Defence has said that, overall, there are also more than 5,000 armed forces personnel overseas, with UK troops involved in 25 operations in 30 countries.
This includes 1,000 troops working to combat the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East by training local security forces, and, since 1969, British submariners have been on permanent patrol providing the UK's nuclear deterrent.
Image: Ministry of Defense
The first recorded use of a mobile darkroom, the forerunner to the military Mobile Photographic Units (MPU), was employed by a famous photographer named Roger Fenton who supported the British Army during the Crimean war in 1853.
Not until World War One did we see the use of MPU's on the battlefield again, which during World War Two became known as Mobile Field Photographic Sections (MFPS) and later transformed into Mobile Field Photographic Units (MFPU) during the Cold War and again to Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (RIC) in the 1970s. This remained until 2003, when the RICs were united into the Tactical Imagery-Intelligence Wing (TIW), which finally converted to 1 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaisance Wing in 2016.
"RICs" from the past, starting in WW1 then on to 2011. (Ian Stannett)
Tactical Reconnaissance Units (Ian Stannett)
The mobile MFPS. The Trailers were known as J Class Trailers and all the vehicles collectively were called the Blue Train. Named after a blue train that ran across Europe similar to the orient express before the war.
As you can see there were Processor and Printer trailers along with many support vehicles.
The Tractor pulling the J Class trailers were generally Austin K5 3 Ton GS or Bedford OYD 3 Ton GS. (Ian Stannett)
Photographic Interpreters (Ian Stannett)
Ian Stannett successfully raised enough money to facilitate the refurbishment of 6 ATREL cabins, used by the RIC. (Crowdfunder).
You can follow regular updates from the project via Facebook.
The full extent of the activities conducted by 41(R) TES cannot be shared online, however you can get a sense of the scope and complexity involved in this recent publication by David Gledhill and David Lewis.
Updates and news direct from the Committee