The ARDET Website
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[11 Mar 24] We have heard the sad news that David Donnelly died on 23 February at the age of 79 in Harrogate District Hospital, where he had been treated for a rare blood condition and prostate cancer. He had been a navigator on 105Sqn 67-68 and 267Sqn 68-69, followed by the VC-10 at Brize and 707s with the RCAF. After various UK postings he undertook the Army Staff College and was posted to Rheindahlen as Head of the UK Delegation for Berlin, and commanded the RAF Winter Survival School in Bad Kohlgrub. After further UK postings, his last was to SHAPE/NATO in Mons. He retired from the RAF as a Wg Cdr in 2000 and took up restoring old furniture.
David's funeral will take place at Stonefall Crematorium, Harrogate, HG3 1DE, at 1140 on Monday 18 March. All are welcome - please inform Bowers Funeral Directors on 01423 770258 should you wish to attend.
David and his wife, Anna, had attended a couple of our reunions. We pass our condolences to Anna and the family.
David Anthony Donnelly 6 February 1945 - 23 February 2024

[22 Feb 24] Do please remember that this website will remain open for as long as we can maintain it . . do please send any news and/or pictures to the the webmaster as indicated above. And if anyone could themself, or could nominate someone who could maintain this raw HTML website, please also let the webmaster know . . We would like to keep the site open for many more years . .

[23 Jan 24] Dave Pritchard has found a very interesting Argosy video presentation to the Joystick Club by Dickie Miller, known by them as 'Professor Richard Miller'. It covers 215 Sqn ops in the Far East and can be found on YouTube.

[25 Oct 23] Past Herc captain, Andy Stewart, has passed us the sad news that David Jones died on 13 October. David was a pilot on 114 Sqn 1969-71 and 115 Sqn 1972-74, and went on to the C-130, ultimately commanding 24 Sqn. He retired in 1994, joining Air Clues until 2003.
The funeral will be held at The Vale Crematorium, Evesham Road, Pershore, WR10 2QR on Friday 10 November at 1100; all friends are welcome. Please no flowers, but donations if wished to St Richard's Hospice, c/o Jacksons Funeral Directors, De Lys, Wells Road, Malvern Wells, WR14 4JL. The family invite us to join them afterwards at the Angel Inn, 9 High Street, Pershore, WR10 2QR.
We pass our sincere condolences to David's family.
David Robert Jones 22 July 1938 - 13 October 2023

[18 Oct 23] Barbara Walker has passed the sad news that Mike Darling has died. Mike was a pilot on 114 Sqn in 1965, 105 Sqn 1965-67 and 267 Sqn 1968-71; he retired from the RAF in 1996 after flying the BA146 on 32 (The Royal) Sqn. His funeral will take place at 1515 on 2 November at Bournemouth Crematorium, off Strouden Avenue, BH8 9HX. Anyone wishing to attend should email his son, Sam Darling. We pass our deep condolences to the family.
Michael Darling 5 December 1941 - 12 October 2023

THE 50TH REUNION - a note from Norman Hodnett . .
In 2022 we decided to hold just one more Reunion, our 50th, and to go out with a flourish, rather than dwindle away as so many associations have done. Planning began early to get the Reunion into the RAF Benson calendar for the first Friday in October; originally chosen simply because although Autumn would be closing in, it is still daylight at 7pm in early October.
Funds were quite healthy and the search began for a suitable and enduring memento to present to the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess, which has hosted the Reunion for nearly every year apart from those ruled out by building extensions works (and cockroaches). In the event we went to Bentley and Skinners, a company of silversmiths in London, who provided a good deal of the silver commissioned for messes in the 1950-60s. And they proposed the silver plate, now beautifully engraved with words of thanks and the outline of an Argosy. I am pleased to tell you that the CMC, Warrant Officer Robert Warren, is delighted with our gift.
As we recorded on this web-site earlier, the Catering Staff at RAF Benson were in some turmoil as we approached the due date. But, as expected, they delivered on the night under the management of Flight Sergeant Carrie Coates who, with her six staff, produced the meal and arrangements we have come to expect. None of them had any prior experience of one of our Reunions which, thank goodness, have never followed a conventional path of seating plans and formality. And our repast was rounded off with delicious 50th Reunion cake provided by Barbara Walker.
The Station Commander was able to find the time in his already-crowded diary to join us for the supper, and then to treat us to an in-depth description of the role of RAF Benson. And it was evident that RAF Benson is here to stay, with a pattern of life quite familiar - long-standing detachments overseas and families to support back at base. It came as a momentary shock rather than a surprise to learn that the Station Commander was born in the year we had our 5th Reunion . .
And so thank you, all 90+ of you, for supporting me for this Reunion, and all the others that went before. For 50 years we have set the standard for Reunion attendance and enjoyment in the RAF.
My best wishes to you all,

Pictures of the night may be found at REUNION PICTURES below. You may also download a PDF of the 300-plus pictures from the continuous-running video show that was playing all evening. It may be downloaded from Dropbox

[1 Oct 23] Daughter Sarah has passed us the sad news that her Father Peter de Bourcier died on 1 October. Peter was a pilot on 105 Sqn 1964-65 and 114 Sqn 1967-70. The funeral will be held at 1.30 PM on Friday 27 October at St Christophers Church, Pott Shrigley, Macclesfield, SK10 5RT, followed by a private committal at the crematorium. Everyone is invited to join the family for following refreshments, which will be served in the Tilden Suite of Shrigley Hall Hotel, SK10 5SB. We pass our deep condolences to Sarah and the family.

[22 Aug 23] Norman Hodnett & Barbara Walker have passed us the sad news that Tom Norcross died on 17 August at the age of 91. Tom was Wing Navigator at Benson in the early 60s and on 215 Sqn in 62-65 before going on to Hercs as Wing Staff at Lynham. He was a stalwart supporter of ARDET reunions; it is so sad that he will miss our last. We pass our deep condolences to the family.

[25 Mar 23] On 14 March, The Telegraph published a full obituary for Flt Lt Francis Souness DFC, who had been a navigator on Valettas during the Malaysian campaign from 1952, earning the DFC after 148 successful sorties. He became an instructor and then joined 47 Sqn Beverleys, followed by secondment to Malaysia and then, in 1961, a posting to 114 Sqn Argosies, although he was poached for the OCU Staff at Thorney instead. Following the Argosy tour he undertook various VIP duties in Africa before returning to the RAF in UK in ATC, retiring in 1987. His wife died in 2008; we pass our condolences to their daughter and family.
Telegraph subscribers may download the full obituary at The Telegraph
Francis Souness 31 August 1930 - 30 December 2022

[23 Feb 23] Mike Seller has passed us the sad news that Malcolm Hogg died on 22 February after a short illness. Malcolm was a pilot on 21 Course at Thorney in November 1963 before serving on 267 Sqn at Benson and 70 Sqn at Akrotiri. He then went on to Hercules at Lyneham before passing through CFS as a flying instructor, teaching at Oakington before returning to Lyneham, where he ended his 16 years in the RAF as an OCU instructor. He then joined Britannia Airways, flying the the Boeing 757 and 767 before retiring on medical grounds. We pass our condolences to Malcolm's family.

[8 Feb 23] Colin Mugridge has found the website and joined us for our last year. He was a pilot on 18 Course and joined 114 Sqn for a few months before moving to the Support and Development Flight at Thorney. After that tour he became a captain back at RAF Benson and did one ARDET detachment before joining 70 Sqn at Akrotiri for a year before the Argosy was retired. He then joined 511 Sqn at Brize Norton on Britannias for 5 years as co-pilot and then captain. On retirement from the RAF in 1976, Colin joined Danair for 17 years on the Comet, 727 and 737-200 as a captain. On the demise of Danair he joined Malaysian Airlines on the 737-400, then Caledonian Airways on the Airbus A320 and A330, finally retiring in 2003. We welcome Colin to the fold and look forward to meeting him at our final Reunion.

[27 Nov 22] Mike Sellar & Martin Willing have passed us the sad news that Joe Hardstaff died on 22 November, aged 87. Some of us will remember him as the RAF Rep at Eastleigh, Nairobi, before he went to 114 Sqn as a Flt Cdr; he also did at least one ARDET detachment as OC. He went on to Staff College, followed by a MoD posting, and then to Lyneham as OC 47 Sqn on Hercules before becoming Stn Cdr. Further staff training led to him becoming Dep Cmdt at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell, as an Air Cdre. His last tour was at Barnwood to head up RAF Personnel and Staffing. On retirement he became Personnel Dir at P&O and then Secretary to the MCC, based at Lord's Cricket Ground; he had played cricket for the RAF, occasionally as captain - his father had played for England. Joe's wife had died in 2015 but this year he married Barbara, the widow of an RAF officer. We offer our condolences to Barbara and the family.
The well-attended funeral took place at on 20 December at West Wiltshire Crematorium, Semington. Norman Hodnett represented us and passed on our condolences to Barbara and the children.
Air Cdr Joseph Hardstaff MBE 1935 - 2022

[7 Sep 22] Wife Jenny has passed us the sad news that Roger Annett died from a combination of leukaemia and heart disease on 31 August. Roger was a pilot on 215 Sqn 1963-65 and retired from the RAF in 1967; he was a regular attendee at reunions. The first of his five books on the subject of air supply "Drop Zone Borneo" (see at page bottom) chronicled a number of adventures with the Argosy during 215 Sqn's time at Changi between 1963 and 1966. Until 20 October, his funeral will be streamed on Obitus - username xezu5197 and password 272726. We offer our condolences to Jenny and their family.

[22 Jul 22] Dick Amor has let us know the sad news that Mike Wilson died last month; his funeral was in Hertfordshire on 15 July. Mike was a nav on 19 Course in 1965-66 and was posted to 105 Sqn. After Argosies he went on to helicopters, ultimately becoming OC 22 Sqn; he retired as a Sqn Ldr. We pass our condolences to Mike's family.

[20 Jun 22] Son Rob has passed us the sad news that his father, Tony McCausland, died on 9 June at the age of 88. Tony was a navigator on 114 Sqn in 1967-71 and moved onto Pumas at Odiham until '76. On leaving the RAF he went on to Bristow Helicopters in the North Sea, finally joining SOAF at Salalah and retiring in 1986. Apparently Tony made only one reunion many years ago, but did visit the Benson museum in 2018, at which the picture was taken as well as a fascinating documentary made.
Sadly, Parkinsons robbed Tony of physical and mental capacity over many years. We offer our sincere condolences to Rob and all members of Tony's family. The funeral will be at North Wiltshire Crematorium, near Wootton Bassett, at 1500 on Wednesday 6 July.
Flt Lt Tony Gordon McCausland 1933 - 2022

[17 Apr 22] Ex 10 Sqn members have passed us the sad news that Gerry Bunn died of a heart attack on 9 April at the age of 81. Gerry was a co-pilot on 105 Sqn 1965-66 and went on to VC10s on 10 Sqn, Brize Norton, ultimately becoming Sqn Cdr in 1981-84 and, later, Founder-Chairman of the 10 Sqn Association, which he still chaired. After retirement, Gerry ultimately became Master of the Coachmakers Livery Company in 2012-13. The family invite past colleagues to the funeral, which will take place at 1300 on 12 May at The Oaks Havant Crematorium, Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA, followed by a reception at The Millstream Hotel, Bosham Lane, Bosham, Chichester, PO18 8HL. If you wish to attend, please inform 10 Sqn Association, who will pass your details to the family. We send our heartfelt condolences to Gerry's wife, Patricia, and family.
Gp Capt O G Bunn CBE RAF (Retd) 1941 - 2022

[14 Apr 22] Mike Lee has joined Ardet. With a largely Canberra and Hastings background, Mike came to the Argosy as OC 115 Sqn at Cottesmore in the early 1970s. He had served on the Air Transport staff in the HQ at RAF Upavon in its many guises from Transport Command to No 38 Gp. Roger Smith has passed us the sad news that Mike's wife, Hazel, passed away earlier this month. We send our condolences to Mike.

[Updated 29 Dec 21] Harry's wife, Janet, has passed us the sad news that Harry Leek died on 20 December at the age of 84. He had been suffering from Parkinson's for the last 5 years. He was an Airframe Tech on 242 OCU at Benson & Thorney from '61 to '65 and, on leaving the RAF, became a Flt Eng with British Midland, followed by BA & Kuwait Airways until retiring in 1994.
Harry's funeral will be at 1445 on 12 January at Loughborough Crematorium, followed by a wake nearby - details to follow. We pass our heartfelt condolences to Janet and their family.

[18 Dec 21] George Jamieson has let us know the sad news that that Sqn Ldr Ben Boutin died in Canada on 6 December. Ben was a pilot at Benson in the early '60s, believed to have been on 114 Sqn. Anyone with further details or a pic please contact the webmaster. We pass our condolences to Ben's family.

[Updated 18 Dec 21] Norman Hodnett has let us know that Simon Dalton-Morris died on 13 October, having been in the Great Western Swindon Hospital for two weeks following a suspected stroke. He was initially a Canberra pilot, but Jerry King reminds us that he moved to Argosies on 215 Sqn Changi in the mid-1960s - his tour included the Borneo Confrontation and promotion to Sqn Ldr. He was also Sqn Ldr Ops at Muharraq during some of the ARDET detachment. He went on to fly Hercules and VC10s. He had attended some early reunions. Anyone with more details or pics please email them to the webmaster.
Simon's funeral was on 1 November at Kingsdown Crematorium, Swindon, where all were welcome to come along as well as join the family afterwards at Stanton House Hotel. Donations, if desired, should be sent to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
We pass our condolences to Simon's family.

[30 Aug 21] Barbara Walker has passed us the sad news that Mark Wallington's wife, Wendy, has died from cancer. Mark himself died of a stroke in January (see below). Wendy had requested and arranged a celebration of their lives to be held at their home. Their daughters Chloe and Esther are fulfilling these wishes with a catered event on Sunday 3rd October. All who remember Mark and Wendy would be most welcome to Upper Minety on that day. For further details, please email We pass our condolences to Chloe and Esther on the loss of their parents.

[30 Aug 21] Len Hind has joined ARDET. He was a nav on 105 Sqn 64-66 and 114 Sqn 66-68. He then went to Search & Rescue for 13 years, followed by Gazelles at Shawbury 81-84, ops in Germany 84-87, then back to Benson on 115 Sqn Andovers 87-89, followed by 60 Sqn in Germany and 32 Sqn Northolt. He was commissioned in 1973 and retired from the RAF in 1993. We welcome Len to the ARDET fold.

[28 Jun 21] Graham 'Squeek' Wade has passed us the sad news that John 'Geordie' Dawe died of cancer on 19 June. Geordie was an Air Wireless Mech with 215 Sqn and was one of the first batch of ground engineers to arrive in Changi in 1963. He was a regular attendee at our Benson reunions - the pic is from Wallingford in 2017. Graham Wade and Ralph Macloud will represent us at the funeral on 2 July. We pass our condolences to his family.

[22 Mar 21] Jock Manson has been contacted by Zara, the daughter of Ken Stanley to let him know that her father had died back in 2004. Ken was a co-pilot on 21 Course and was posted to 105 Sqn in late 1966 before coming back to Benson on 267 and 114 Sqns, after which he joined civil airlines, flying the DC8, Dash 7 and 737 amongst others and retiring from BMI in January 2004. Sadly, he died of a heart problem later that year at the age of 59. Zara has asked that anyone who has pictures or stories of her father please get in touch with her at We pass our belated condolences to Zara and her family.
Kenneth Stanley 19.4.45 - 29.4.04

[11 Feb 21] Daughter Sara has passed us the sad news that her father Ron Ibbotson died on 2 February in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, at the age of 81. He undertook Flt Eng training on 21 Course in 1966 and was posted to 105 Sqn, then back to Benson, Brize Norton and Lyneham, finally retiring as a MEng after 24 years service in 1981. He was known for a dry sense of humour and was a regular attendee at reunions. We pass our condolences to Ron's family.

[19 Jan 21] Jock Manson has passed us the sad news that Wg Cdr Eddie Rigg died on 18 January in his 95th year.
He joined the RAF in 1945, undertaking pilot training at Cranwell and flying Spitfires, Tempests and Vampires in Germany before instructing at the Central Gunnery School, Leconfield, in 1951. He became a test pilot after training at ETPS in 1953, during which he survived a major accident when his vampire exploded on take-off at Farnborough; injuries included a dislocated spine and he was off flying for 4 months. He went on to A&AEE Boscombe Down test flying fighters and trainers and, after a staff tour at Fighter Command HQ, returned to ETPS as an instructor. From 1966 Wg Cdr Rigg commanded 105 Sqn for the 2 years that covered the move out of Aden and the ARDET detachments in Bahrain. After Argosies, he went on to Staff College at Bracknell as an instructor and then to London to oversee flying operations at research establishments. Probably as a result of the Vampire accident, he started to suffer severe migraines in the mid-1970s, lost his flying category and retired.
Eddie was a wonderful squadron boss - many have commented that he was the best they had ever had. He will be remembered by many from the Argosy community as well as by others. We pass our condolences to his family members and close friends. There will be private memorial gatherings held when permitted and we will remember him (and others) at our next reunion.
Further details of his life can be found at The Last Argosy
Edward Comer Rigg MBE AFC . . . . 21 April 1926 - 18 January 2021

[18 Jan 21] Barbara Walker has passed us the sad news that Mark Wallington died of a stroke on 6 January. He was a co-pilot on 267 Sqn during the ARDET period and was involved with the detachments. As Martin Willing's co-pilot with a full load of troops on a Sharjah-Bahrain trip, after taxying in he made himself look dishevelled, climbed through the crew hatch and banged on the pax ditching hatch on the roof by the pax doors; when let down, he loudly asked the AQM why he had not let him in before taxiing out at Sharjah. The pax were totally taken in at first, but were quickly in howls of laughter. Mark left at 38 and created a successful brewery in Wiltshire. He was also Barbara and Geoff's wedding Best Man and had attended some of our reunions. We send our condolences to his wife, Wendy - should anyone wish to contact her, please do so through the webmaster.

[3 Dec 20] Farewell to Geoff Walker. Geoff's funeral took place on 2 December at St Mary le More Church, Wallingford. The church was packed, within current regulations, with others standing outside. RAF Benson provided a Guard of Honour and a helicopter fly-pass as the coffin, adorned with a Union flag and Geoff's hat and medals, was about to enter the church. The service was a moving experience, with his and Barbara's two sons giving wonderful eulogies, a grandson making a reading and granddaughter accompanying a hymn on her flute. Sadly, there was no opportunity to celebrate Geoff's life afterwards, but Barbara is determined to do so when life returns to normality.
The service was live-streamed; this may be viewed for 90 days at this link. The family ask that donations be made to the Sobell Hospice Charity.
Once again, we pass our deepest condolences to Barbara and the family, in the hope that their sadness will now turn to a wealth of happy memories.
Click pic for full size . .

[12 Nov 20] Barbara has just given us the sad news that Geoff Walker passed away in Sobell House Hospice in Oxford at 1215 today, 12 November. Geoff was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in August and ultimately could no longer be cared for at home. Thankfully, he was in no pain.
Geoff navigated on 215, 267 and 105 Squadrons from 1963 and became Wing Nav at Benson in 1968, moving to 114 Sqn in 1970 as the Argosy Force was run down. It was then that he served on ARDET.
Shortly after the withdrawal of the Argosy from the UK Transport Force, the first ARDET Reunion took place - which grew into the Association embracing everyone who had served in the Argosy Force. And every year it took place on the first Friday in October at Benson. The need for continuity in the organisation led to Geoff and Barbara, living in Wallingford, taking over the reins. They created a caring Association quite unlike any other, and a Reunion that you could not miss. Last year, Geoff was presented with a cake depicting our 47 years of the get-together (see Reunion pics). We owe Geoff a huge amount of gratitude for his successful endeavours on our behalves.
The RAF Benson Station Engagement Officer adds 'I am so very sorry to hear this sad news; Geoff will definitely be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. If there is anything we can do, please do let us know, including whether his family would like RAF representation at his funeral. Please do pass on our thoughts and sympathies to Geoff's family and to the wider ARDET family.'
If you would like to contact the family, please do so via Barbara Barbara hopes that many messages will be read out at the funeral, yet to be arranged; she also hopes to invite all Ardetians to a Celebration of Geoff's Life when conditions permit.
We pass our deepest condolences to Barbara and the family.

[2 Oct 20] 2020 REUNION Sadly, for the first time the Annual Reunion had to be cancelled due to the Covid 19 outbreak. But watch this space for a date for 2021 . .

[19 Aug 20] Harry Apiafi has joined the ARDET fold. He was groundcrew on 105 Sqn 1962-64, but on return to UK underwent pilot training and flew C-130s, finishing at RAE Farnborough. He then went into various airlines, ending with the then-BMED in 2002. He is now a general aviation instructor and examiner. We welcome Harry to ARDET and look forward to seeing him at future reunions.

[19 Jul 20] Jack Harrison has put us in touch with aviation author and ex-RAF navigator Ken Delve, who, at the request of a number of people, is looking at putting together a book on RAF transport types of the period covering the Argosy, Beverely, Belfast and maybe Hastings. His idea is to collect pictures and stories that can help make the basic records from squadron records a bit more interesting and readable. He is, of course, aware of this website, but would appreciate input from any of our members. He can be contacted at .

[14 Jul 20] Martin Willing has let us know that Charlie Gravett, a 215 Sqn groundcrew member from the beginning of operations in Changi, died on 4 July at home in Jersey after an unsuccessful casevac to Oxford. Following his RAF service, he and his wife had become accomplished long-distance swimmers and raised funds for the RAFA's 'Holidays for Heroes'. He had attended a couple of reunions with Martin. We pass condolences to his wife, Sally, and family.

[12 May 20] We have received the sad news that Tony Steff-Langston died on 5 May in Caterham at the age of 93. He was OC 114 Sqn 1966-68 and went on to commanding Northolt; he had also headed the British Defence Liaison Staff in New Zealand and held a Deputy Directorship in the MoD. After 33 years in the RAF he became Executive Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society for a further 11 years. Many that served under him at Benson have said what a wonderful boss he was - a perfect gentleman. He used to be a regular attendee at our reunions. Tony's wife, Joyce, predeceased him but we pass our condolences to their family. There will be a private family cremation.

[7 Apr 20] We have discovered the sad news that Gp Capt Tony Talbot-Williams died peacefully on 11 August 2019, aged 95. He had left Cambridge University early to join the RAF for wartime flying duties, ultimately flying Catalinas; he went back to finish his degree after the war but then rejoined the RAF, ultimately flying 30 aircraft types. He was OC 215 Sqn 1963-65 and retired from the RAF in 1971 as Station Commander at Odiham. He took up property development, from which he retired at the age of 93. We pass belated condolences to his wife, Diana, 4 children and 5 grandchildren. Anyone with an image of Tony or a group from which one can be cropped, please email it to the webmaster .

[5 Apr 20] John Kelly is undertaking doctoral studies and is focussing on the Argosy, in particular, Eddie Rigg. He has generated a fascinating website and would appreciate any comments; he asks 'please check out my timeline of Edward's career.' He adds that 'Eddie is still with us living in a retirement home near Guildford.' John Kelly can be contacted through his website.

[20 Feb 20] Bill Lowe and Tom Norcross have passed the sad news that Ian Mackie died on 18 February. Ian had been a pilot on 215 Sqn from 1963 to 1965 and went on to fly VC10s. Sadly, he succumbed to pneumonia and other complications after a short stay in Worthing hospital. We pass our condolences to his partner, Val, and family. Members are invited to Ian's funeral at 1440 on 11 March at Worthing Crematorium, followed at 1600 by a gathering of family and friends at Shoreham Conservative Club, 102 High Street, Shoreham by Sea. If you wish to attend, please email Val at .

[10 Jan 20] Simon Thomas has found the website and realised that the '? Thomas' entry was that of his father Roy 'Tommy' Thomas who, sadly, died nearly 21 years ago. Tommy was a pilot on 9 Course and posted to 267 Sqn 1963-64, on the OCU Staff 1964-67, Benson Ops Wg 1968-70 and ASCEU and its successor 1970-73 and 115 Sqn 1973-74. In 1974-75 he joined the Flying Standards Unit RAF Finningley to convert 6FTS pilots for the planned introduction of the Argosy T2 as an aircrew trainer. His last Argosy flight was in May 1975 to deliver XP411 to Cosford for ground training; it was later transferred to the Cosford Museum, where it now resides. The picture, from the Finningley Observer, is of the first pilot to convert to the aircraft at Finningly; sadly, the plan for its use as an aircrew trainer was dropped. We thank Simon, and pass our condolences on losing his father all those years ago.

[18 Dec 19] Paul Ryan has joined ARDET. He was an AQM/ALM on 267Sqn from 1968, then moved to 114Sqn until its disbanding in late 1971. Paul is currently in the granite industry, quarrying and processing the stone; he contributed stone to The New Forest Airfields Memorial. We welcome Paul to the fold.

[10 Nov 19] Pete Read has been given this painting by the artist, Mal Grosse, with whom he trained at RAF Syerston back in 1962-3 before Mal went on to fly Hunters in Aden. Since his retirement, Mal has pursued painting and has donated a handful of pictures to the RAF Club. ARDET Members can purchase an A4-sized mounted print of this beuatiful Argosy painting for the princely sum of 30 - go to HMG Artwork or

[9 Nov 19] Tony Morris has passed on the sad news that Syd Adams' wife, Trish Adams, has died. Syd himself died in 2009, but Trish had continued to be a regular attendee at our reunions. The interment of her ashes will be at 1100 on Saturday 30 November at Buckland Village Church, followed by a Reception at the Village Hall (SN7 8QS); all are welcome to attend. We pass our condolences to Syd and Trish's family.

[8 Nov 19] Pete Read has let us know that Dave 'Yarpy' Davis, a pilot who was on No 1 Argosy Course and retired in 1970 to join BEA/BA, died in February this year. We pass condolences to his family.

[22 Sep 19] Brant Gulyes has found the ARDET website and passed us the sad new that his father, Joe Gulyes, died in November 2008. Joe had been a pilot with the RCAF, Trans Canada Airlines and Nordair before joining 267 Sqn at Benson as a captain in 1962-64. He then left the RAF for Qantas in Australia before returning home to Air Canada in 1966, finally retiring in 1991. Jo was a popular captain who lived in Benson village and was fun to fly with. We pass our belated condolences to his family.

[Updated 28 May 19] Jock Manson has passed on the sad news that John Stappard died this month in a care home in Wootton Bassett. 'Stap' had come up through the ranks to become a commissioned instructor on Varsities before joining the Argosy Force on 105 Sqn 1965-66. He went on to Hercules, becoming an ASCEU examiner. Many have already commented that he was very knowledgable and helpful and a pleasure to fly with. The funeral will be at 1500 on 19 June at North Wiltshire Crematorium (200 yards S of M4 J16 on the A3102), followed at 1615 by a Reception at the Marsh Farm Hotel (adjacent to Coped Hall Roundabout, just N of Wootton Bassett). After the Committal, all are invited to Marsh Farm Hotel to celebrate John's life - expect finger food and a bar with the first drink provided by him. Sadly, John was pre-deceased by his wife, Jean, several years ago, and his his son, who died in his 30s from a motor accident, and his daughter, who suffered a terminal illness. Consequently, C-130 colleague Colin McClay and his wife have been looking after John for several years and are arranging the funeral. If you wish to attend, please email Brian Poulton; he will pass on details to the McClays.

[Updated 21 Apr 19] Mike Sayer has let us know that an obituary has appeared in The Telegraph for Gp Capt Richard Bates AFC, who died on 6 April at the age of 85. It has been confirmed that this is Dickie Bates, who passed through the OCU in 1963 and became a Flight Commander on 267 Sqn, later to become OC XXIV Sqn at Lyneham in 1970-72 and Station Commander at Brize Norton in the late '70s. A funeral service will be held at 1200 on 27 April at St Peter and St Paul Church, Blockley, GL56 9ES; all are invited - see In Memorium. We pass our condolences to his family.

[4 Apr 19] Son Graham has let us know the sad news that his father, Guy Thrower, died on 20 March. Guy was on 6 OCU Course and joined 267 Sqn in 1963 as a co-pilot, moving to 105 Sqn in Aden in 1966 as a captain; he went on to be a captain with BA. All ARDET members would be welcome to attend a simple service at 1100 on Monday 8 April at the South Oxfordshire Memorial Park and Crematorium, Garford, Abingdon, OX13 5PA. We pass our condolences to Graham and all Guy's family members.

[12 Mar 19] As mentioned below, Graham Oliver, has sadly died and had asked to be buried with a model Argosy and with a picture of an Argosy on his grave's nameplate. His son Mark has passed us this picture of the nameplate - surely the only such one in existence. Again, we pass our condolences to the family, but thank them for remembering father so well.

[16 Feb 19] Martin Willing has been contacted by Mark Oliver with the sad news that his father Graham Oliver has died in Cyprus. Graham was a pilot on 114 Sqn 1964-69 and 70 Sqn 1969-71, and then went on to Britannias, retiring in 1974 to fly with Tradewinds and Gulf Air. He finally retired to Cyprus. The funeral will be at 1100 on 19 February at Peyia Cemetery, Cyprus; he is being buried with a model of an Argosy and is having a picture of the 'old bird' on his nameplate. We send our condolences to Mark and the family.

[4 Feb 19] Giles Dennison has discovered the ARDET website and let us know that his father, Peter Dennison, sadly died in August 2006. Peter had piloted Vampires, Meteors and the Beverley before the Argosy; he was on 105 Sqn 1962-64 and then back to Thorney Island and Benson. He retired in 1968 to work for BAC at Weybridge, and then British Airports Authority, where he was involved in airfield planning and safety. We pass belated condolences to son Giles, who assures us that Dad will be in the bar - at least in spirit - at our next reunion.

[Updated 23 Jan 19] Bill Lowe has passed us the sad news that Graham Humberstone was found dead in bed on 9 January. Graham was on 114 Sqn 1963-65 and 105 Sqn 1966-68 and then flew the Belfast on 53 Sqn and the OCU before retiring to fly the BAC 1-11 and DC-10 for Laker, followed by the Tristar and 767 for Gulf Air. He was a regular good-fun attendee at our reunions. We pass our heartfelt condolences to Graham's daughter, Ceriann, and family. Graham's funeral will be held at Surrey and Sussex (Worth) Crematorium, Balcombe Rd, Crawley, RH10 3NQ, at 1330 on Monday 11 February. ARDET members would be welcome; please email Ceriann if attending.

[8 Jan 19] We have heard from son Brian the sad news that Peter Crouch died in January 2018 at the age of 95. Peter joined up in 1942 and trained in Canada, finishing the war flying Halifaxes. In 1948 he joined 47 Sqn flying the new Hastings, then onto Ansons as a Nav School staff pilot and then, after CFS, instructed on numerous aircraft up to the Hunter. After a Far East tour, he converted to the Argosy, instructing at 242 OCU 1963-66, then joining 215 Sqn until 1967 and 70 Sqn until 1970, when he joined the ASC Examining Unit at Benson. After a couple more tours, he retired in 1978 to become Laura Ashley company pilot for a further 10 years. In all, Peter had flown over 11,000 hrs in 75 types and had been awarded the AFM in 1954. We pass our condolences to Peter's family. (The pic shows his typical humour of wearing a cadet's cap when a little old for the part . .)

2018 ARDET REUNION The Reunion was a wonderful event, incorporating the unveiling of the Argosy 'Mark' and a return to the Sergeants' Mess for the reunion itself.

[22 Oct 18] Graham 'Squeek' Wade had passed on the sad news that Dave Riley has died of cancer. He was an engine fitter on the introduction of the Argosy and served in Changi from 1963 on ASF and First Line. He was a regular reunion attendee, but could not make it this year. We pass our condolences to Dave's family.

[17 Oct 18] Mike Crossman (was Groizard) has joined ARDET. He was on First Line at Benson on 114 and 267 Sqns and then on VASF at Sharjah for the twice-daily visit of Argosies from ARDET. He was then on 70 Sqn Akrotiri, seeing the transition halfway through his tour from the Argosy to the C130. We welcome Mike to the fold.

[5 Oct 18] Neil Cairns has joined ARDET. He started at Benson on the Major Rectifications Flt 1969-72 and did 3 Bahrein ARDET detachments, seeing the Argosy out at Benson and into Cottesmore in 1972. He retired as a Ch/Tech from RAF Halton as an instructor in 1988. We welcome Neil to the ARDET fold.

[3 Sep 18] Ralph Darnell has joined the ARDET Group. He was a navigator on 114 Sqn 1968-71 (including 4 ARDETs) and 115 Sqn in 1972. We welcome him to the fold.

[23 Aug 18] Alan Baker has passed the sad news that Dom Parkinson died on 19 August. Dom was a navigator on 215 Sqn 63-66, 267 Sqn 66-68 and 115 Sqn 68-71 & 75-80; also display pilot for the RAFGSA. He had been taken ill in Martinique and flown home to UK by air ambulance, but died 8 months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. We send our condolences to his wife, Caroline, and children. The funeral will take place at 1200 on Friday 31 August at St Adhelm's Church, Malmsbury, Wiltshire; ARDET members are welcome to attend.

[29 May 18] Martin Willing has passed us the sad news that Tony Ogden had died in Spain on 18 December; he had suffered from cancer for a long time. Martin recalls that Tony was on No 11 Course in 1963 and joined 105 Sqn in Aden. When the main force disbanded, he went to 115 Sqn at Watton before retiring to join BEA on Viscounts. After a spell in Birmingham, he moved to Jersey, and ultimately back to Sussex and B Tours - from whom he retired at 55 and joined Singapore Airlines until aged 60. We pass our condolences to Tony's family.

[27 Apr 18] Ken Patchett has asked to join the ARDET Group. Ken was a navigational instrument technician at Thorney Island in 1962 and 1966-69 and now lives in Havant. We welcome him to the fold.

[23 Apr 18] David Pyne has passed the sad news that Brian Prior died of cancer in March. Brian was a navigator on 267 Sqn in 1967-68 and completed an ARDET in 1968. We pass our condolences to Brian's family.

[9 Jan 18] Tex Macaulay has found a black-and-white short film 'Soldier in the Sun', covering Aden and Radfan in 1964. It has many shots of Argosies, Bevs and Hunters, including interesting shots of Argosies delivering one-ton containers to the troops on top of Jebel Wadina. The film can be found at the BBC.

[8 Jan 18] Dick Amor has found yet another gem - a video of a large electric-powered flying model Argosy. In Boscombe Down colours, it flies beautifully and drops loads from the rear doors (but the parachute packer is not much good . .). Click on YouTube to view.

[Updated 3 Jan 18] Norman Hodnett has passed us the sad news that Alan Selby died on 30 December after a long and hard fight against cancer. He had been in Chichester Hospital for a couple of weeks. Alan was on 105 and 114 Sqns before joining BA, and was a regular attendee at our reunions. We pass our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Valerie, and their family. The funeral will take place at 1400 on Friday 26 January at Worthing Crematorium (Horsham Road, Findon, West Sussex, BN14 0RG). Please email Valerie if you wish to attend via . The undertakers are: HD Tribe, 19 West St, Storrington, RH20 4DZ. Flowers are welcome, or donations to Cancer Research UK or Macmillan Nurses, Midhurst.

[23 Dec 17] Dick Amor has also found a recently-published book on the development of the Argosy and its civilian and military use. It's available in the 'Warpaint' series and is number 71. He explains that it contains several photographs and is worth a look for those who are interested. The author, Charles Stafrace, hasn't quite got all his details correct and there are some errors . . for example, he says that 38 people were killed when XP133 crashed at Afrag, when the number was 11. He also has the landing weight of the Argosy at 90,000 lbs when it was 92,000 . . and a coloured depiction of the battle-axe on a 105 aircraft shows a blue handle and not a green one! Some errors in his research or perhaps misprints! There is only one picture of a crew member at work and this is an AEO in the back of a 115 Sqn aircraft. Dick doesn't know of any other books concerning the Argosy unless any of our members is compiling one! The book can be found at Guideline Publications.

[14 Nov 17] Dick Amor has found an impressive 'Aden 50th Anniversary Souvenir & Commemorative Journal, 1967-2017'. The huge (112-page) journal gives an enormous amount of background as well as fascinating descriptions of the problem times and the withdrawal, including Argosy activities. It's a must-read for those involved and can be freely read and downloaded from Horizon Publications.

[27 Jun 17] An aviation artist (and ex-professional pilot), Alan Spears, has put some attractive paintings of civil IPEC Argosies on his website. Some have been added to our CIVIL AIRCRAFT PICS - well worth a look . .

[29 Feb 16] Jock Manson has spotted an article in the April issue (yes, it's published already . .) of Flypast magazine on Bob 'Tin Leg' Olding . Bob was a navigator and Flt Cdr on 267 Sqn around 1966. The article, entitled 'Courage over Suez', describes the remarkable circumstances that led to Bob losing his leg . . As a Fg Off, he was on exchange to the Royal Navy during the Suez crisis and found himself embarked on HMS EAGLE as nav (or observer in RN parlance) in the lead of 6 Venoms attempting to neutralise Egytian MiGs on the ground. They encountered intense anti-aircraft fire and sustained a hit under the cockpit. On a second run, a hole appeared in the bottom of the cockpit, all hydraulics were lost and it became apparent that Bob had suffered a severe injury - he injected himself with a pain-killer and continued his nav duties. After a wheels-up landing on the carrier and emergency treatment, Bob was flown to Cyprus, where his leg had to be amputated. For his courage in continuing his duties, he was awarded the DSC - a remarkably brave officer . .

[15 Aug 15] The September edition of Aeroplane magazine features an 18-page 'Database' of the Argosy, covering 'Development, Technical Details, In Service and Insights'. It's a fascinating read, with lots of pictures and drawings accompanying the words - some of which emanate from our own Martin Willing. Well worth a read - it's £4.30 at newsagents.

[2 Aug 15] Trevor Lightburn visited the Newark Air Museum today and took a couple of photos of the cockpit of XN819 that was recovered from Finningley - where it had been an Engineer Procedure trainer. There is no Nav position installed; the APU panel is there, as is the periscopic sextant mounting - but the museum volunteer had wondered what that was for . . The cockpit is wired up for lights and noise and Trevor reports that children of all ages have a great time in there! He recommends that it's worth a visit if anyone is passing by, it is a few minutes off the A1 at the A46/A17 junction. The museum is open most days, but the Argosy is only open when attended by a volunteer - so a check beforehand is worthwhile. Trevor's pics are in our Photo Gallery.

[26 Jan 15] Nick Huband, son of John Huband, has spotted an article on the Whistling Wheelbarrow in the January issue of Aviation News. It's 5 pages of interesting reading - photos included are mainly of civilian aircraft or former RAF machines after they had been sold, but there are also pics of aircraft in RAF markings. If you can't find a copy, it can be bought online at Aviation News.

[22 Jul 14] Nick Huband (see news below) has spotted an impressive DVD featuring Argosies at Benson in 1962. 'Classic Airliner Collection No.1' from Avion contains 72 minutes of pure nostalgia, including Benson at work. It costs 17.95 + 1.50 P&P from Avion

[7 Nov 13] We have been informed of another company selling what appear to be superb 1:200 Argosy (or 'RAF Benson Load Lugger' as they call it) scale models. They have some in camouflage as well as in Boscome Down livery and the Training Command scheme as at Cosford. The die-cast models cost £50-60. For details see Flying Tigers Ltd.

[Dec 12] Martin Willing tells us that Aviation 200 is producing Argosy models at 1/200 Scale - a handy size for detail, but not too big that they take up a lot of space. So far, it has produced XN817 in Boscombe Down colours, XP444 in 70 Sqn's colours and they are just producing XP108 in the camouflage scheme; it has also produced XP411 in the Training Command scheme as seen at Cosford. They cost around 50, but look good and a nice reminder of happier times. Martin adds that for those amongst us who are true aviation 'nuts', there are a mass of models at the website in various scales, so one can almost certainly have a collection of all the aircraft in which one has flown. The site is

The Midland Air Museum at Coventry ran an Argosy Day on 19 May 2009 to mark the 50th anniversary of the first flight - it was actually on 8 January 1959. Three ARDET members attended - Ian Haldane, Dave Pritchard and David Broughton. To see a few pics of the day, CLICK HERE.

To celebrate 50 years of the Argosy (first flight was in January 1959), Brian Fare has produced a very nice A5-size greetings card featuring a pencil sketch of two aircraft, with more on the back. These can be purchased at £1 each + £1.50 postage for up to 5 cards. To order, email Brian.


'Drop Zone Borneo' is a first-hand and entertaining account by Roger Annett of two-and-a-half years' excitement in the Far East from 1963 to 1965. It is the story of the so-called 'Confrontation' with Indonesia and the missions flown by the Argosy in support of combat troops on the ground. It is published in hardback with 160 pages and 36 illustrations by Pen & Sword Books (ISBN: 1-84415-396-7) at 15.99 plus 2.50p/p. Orders can be placed on 01226 734555 or at

And Roger has written another book - 'Drop Zone Burma' was published on 23 October 2008. With a strap-line 'Adventures in allied air-supply 1943-45', it demonstrates the brave determination of the transport squadrons' air and ground crews and the soldiers who fought one of the longest, most remote and demanding battles of the war. It is published in hardback with 214 pages by Pen & Sword Books (ISBN: 978 1844157504) at 19.99. Contact on 01226 734555 or at


An interesting book 'Masirah; Tales from a Desert Island' by Colin Richardson (an ex-RAF and SOAF pilot) has been found by Trevor Lightburn, who says it brought back a lot of memories (for anyone who wishes to be reminded of the place . . ). It is from Pentland Press with an ISBN 1 85821 801 2. It's still available from the author at 24.95 p&p free; contact Colin Richardson, Five Acres, Fulbeck Lowfields, Grantham, Lincs, NG32 3JD.