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Thread: Seeking info on Airwork Services

  1. #91
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    40

    Misr Airwork Tiger Moths, Almaya, Cairo

    'Aeroplane Monthly', Dec 1981. 'Yeoman York' - Avro York MW173 with two Misr Airwork Tiger Moths in the background at Almaya, Cairo shortly after the war.
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  2. #92
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    8

    Airwork Ltd Aden post UK withdrawal

    Looking for Information: Peter Balkwill, Airwork Ltd, Aden 1967-68


    I am looking for information about Peter John Balkwill, b. 1926, Hatherleigh, Devon and would particularly appreciate making contact with anyone who knew him in Aden from 1967 onward.


    Peter Balkwill trained as an aircraft fitter then carried out his national service in the RAF at Camp Fayed, Egypt in late '40s. He worked crop-spraying with Aerial Spraying Contractors Ltd (later Fisons) in the Sudan. From 1961 he worked as ground crew for Sudan Airways (poss. through Airwork Ltd) for 6 years.

    He arrived in Aden early 1967 working for Airwork Ltd. Unusually, he stayed on after Independence, with his family joining him in January 1968.

    The basic task (for Airwork Ltd) was to run the tool sheds for the newly formed South Yemen Air Force, based at the former RAF Khormaksar.

    The family lived in former RAF housing on the airfield perimeter: first at Dhobi Lines flats, then in the WhiteCity housing.

    Peter Balkwill's ultimate boss was a man named Eric French, with whom he was very friendly (he was much older, so must be long dead). Other names recalled by the family are: 'Mac, Black Mac, Jack Kennedy, Vic Wright, Tom Cullen, ? Dungate, Ernie Whitmarsh, George ?, Doug Farrant, Ray Shoebridge, Ricky and Diane ?'. He also had a number of friends in the local community.

    Unfortunately, Peter died on 21.12.1969 (in a hit and run accident). He had been due to return home to the UK (the family had returned in Sept 1969) on leave in January 1970, expecting then to be posted to Abu Dhabi with Eric French (above).

    He is supposedly buried at Ma'alla Christian Cemetery but his daughter was unable to find his grave there or any record of his grave.

    He was a fluent Arabic speaker.

    If anyone one out there remembers or knew of Peter Balkwill, please get in touch.

  3. #93
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    5
    I'll ask my Uncle, Ray Shoebridge on Saturday....

  4. #94
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Queensland, Australia.
    Posts
    62

    Smile Airworks-OMAN 1967-71.

    I have many photos from my time in OMAN. A/C were Piston Provost, DH Beaver,
    Strikemaster, DC 3, DH Caribou, Bell Helo's, Viscount. Names that spring to mind from that era :- Hugh Heptinstall, Ron Perkins, Keith Cawley, Geoff Painter, " Taffy " Jones, R F Philpot, Paul Lewis, Tony Newby, Colin Wilson, Sqdr. Ldr. Alan Bridges RAF. Anyone out there from my era ? Also spent a short time at Hurn on Seahawks and Meteors. I visited OMAN last year. They have roads now ;-) And the curries are still great :-)

  5. #95
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    5
    @ Luscombe Pilot
    Yes, My Uncle knew Peter and his wife well.... apparently it was a toss up between him(Ray) and someone else who had to tell his wife
    He seems to think Peter was walking home from 'The Brothers Restuarant' to camp when tragedy struck.....
    He doesn't recall exactly where he is burried.....
    He remembers some of those names well- Black Mac, Eric French ( cricket mates..),Dungate...
    If you want to know something specific, pls ask....
    and lastly,ne asks what is your relationship to the Balkwills ?
    Ray was there from 67 to 70

  6. #96
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Spain
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Helen BC View Post
    I have my own story re: a memorial to my dad set up by Airwork in Aden that has never been found. And details about his death are very sketchy. Would be interested to talk to colhot, or anyone with experience of Aden.

    Also: does anyone know Ted Weinel who worked out in Oman in the early '70s?
    TED WEINEL LIVES. He's married, has a Central American wife, "Jacqui" and one son of 25, all living in Spain. He can be found on Skype under "Edward Weinel" or on Email
    weinelsinspain@gmail.com
    He remembers a loving mum, Joan, a dog called Tinker and two wonderful kids called Helen and Peter who filled a drawing book with a hand-drawn story about the "the two little princes."
    He also remembers a much missed friend and father called Peter Balkwill. Call me or Email.

  7. #97
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    8

    Airwork Personnel

    Further to my previous posts concerning Peter Balkwill, there are a couple of other names that Helen is keen to contact: Colin Smith and Ralph Bray - both working for Airwork in Aden at the time Peter Balkwill died. If anyone has contact details for either of these two individuals, please pass them on to me via private message.

    Many thanks

  8. #98
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Norfolk UK
    Posts
    1

    Re:Seeking info on Airwork Services

    Hi Gary long time no see. I'm John Artis the long haired one who hung around with Des Halfacre Stewart Levett etc ... did a bit of sailing down off 'Blackpool' (Strabag) beach in the Kestrels and GP14. I worked in the Air Radio (Seeb) workshop fixing HF VHF VOR ADF DME etc... with John Mc Nier among others under Pete Justin who came out from England as Chief Engineer (Radio) in early '78, memory fading a little now regarding all the names.
    It would be good to hear from you.
    John
    Last edited by Hans Huckebein; 13th September 2010 at 09:42. Reason: spelling

  9. #99
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1

    Alternative Take on Thumrait

    I've only just come across this thread and it's an interesting read. However, I must pick up on a couple of point that WV-903 makes about Airworks in Dhofar.
    The Tarqah shootings didn't take place the week before he arrived in 1981. They happened between 6 and 9 months before I left Thumrait in December 1978.

    Tarqah was a popular place and it was the first place I went to for a Friday trip. We watched the locals fishing for sardines with these huge nets that they just threw out into the water and then hauled back using as many hands as possible. Ours included. Over the next year or so I went there a few times. I don't remember being warned not to go there until after the shootings happened. I knew one of the survivors (the one that went into the water) and although I can still see his face, I can't remember his name. I didn't know the other survivor or the three lads that died except to say hi to in passing.

    Another thing I don't remember, is ever travelling down to Salalah in a military convoy. Someone from the base drove down every day to collect the mail sack from the BFPO (if the Skyvan hadn't brought it) and then later from Salalah Post Office. I did it several times myself, sometimes in a landrover and sometimes in a toyota pickup. I even drove the mess manager down to Salalah in a truck, to pick up supplies from Spinneys and the market more than once.

    The story about 'Ambush Corner' is, I suspect, just that - a story. It may well have been the perfect place for an ambush before the metalled road was put it and one may well have happened there in the past, but in the 2 and a bit years I was out there nothing happened. Oh there was a rumour going around for a while that someone claimed to have heard gunfire in the area, but no-one knew who it was that claimed to have heard it. so.... Rumours were very easy to promote in Thumrait.

    While I was at Thumrait, my brother was in Salalah working for Oman TV. He used to drive all over Dhofar, sometimes with a driver and sometimes on his own. He never heard anything about 'Ambush Corner' and he probably passed through it more times than I did. He did tell of shooting nearer to the Yemen border that turned out to be some jebalis having a bit of fun with their AK-47s.

    I have here a docket dated 1st September 1977 , stating that the Dhofar Location Allowance was being reduced from 1 Riyal a day to 0.5 Riyal.
    Again this 'price on an airworkie's head' is I believe, an urban myth like the poodle in the microwave. The amount of the bounty seems to vary alarmingly and what proof is there that it ever existed? It just makes the story better.

    I can remember a few names from my time there. Graham Durose was the base manager. My close mates were Frank Peaking, Brian Laws, Jake Grimshaw, Dick Wasiluk, Graham Bailey (a fine folk singer and guitarist) The Ferranti Rep, Bryn Goodwin, and (if I remember his surname correctly) Mick Brownhills. Most of the pilots were contract, with a few (as the jag arrived) RAF secondees. There was one mad pilot known as 'Stephan The Pole' who use to do the most ludicrous and terrifying stunts in a jaguar. (One of my clients is a professional stunt pilot and he tells me he knew him but thinks that he is no more.) And Rolo Rowland from Portsmouth ran the hunter flight line.

    I remember a couple of incidents that happened while I was there. We lost a Hunter just outside the base. Something happened at quite low level, It may have been a bird strike - there were quite a few Egyptian Vultures in the area. The pilot (a brit) banged out and the hunter ploughed into one of the little hillocks that surrounded the base, just missing the old accommodation area. I don't remember there being much left that was recognisable.

    Another, was going down to the range with the Ferranti Rep and one of the BAe engineers to watch a sales test/demo of the Laser Marked Target Seeker. It was quite a sight to see the bombs coming off the low-level Jag and straddle their target and detonate.

    Shortly after I left Oman I met one of my former colleagues on leave, at the MOD medical centre where we both had to go for our Laser Eye Tests. He told me that a subsequent test didn't go so well. Apparently, one of the the bombs detonated as it left the rail and took the back off the Jag. The Pilot got out OK thankfully.

    My one regret is that I never got my promised ride through the valleys of the jebel down to Salalah and back. I was all set to go in the week before leaving but then there was a bang seat problem so there were no two-seaters available (we only had two). By the time it was fixed I was home in London.

    Before Oman I was in Khamis Mushayt on Lightnings. I went out as a Airworkie and came back as a BACie (or was that a BAeie? I can't remember).
    There's some fun stories from there - oh, and Rolo Rowland was on the flight line.

  10. #100
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1

    tarqa shootings

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Ian Bowerman.I was working for Airworks at Thumrait from oct 1977 on a 15 month contract.I was an E&I engineer on 1st line servicing on Hunters.
    On July 27 (i'm 90% sure of the date) my name was down to go on the fishing party to Tarqa.We had fished there and on other beaches near Salalah on several occasions trying to catch Grooper. On this occasion I finished my shift early and went to the bar at Thumrait to wait for the others to finish
    I was drinking double rums at 7p a pop and wound up fast asleep in a drunken stupor thus missing the trip.
    I was awoken in my room around 4:00 am the next day by Rob Ogilvie.He told me to get dressed quick as we needed to get the aircraft off the ground as five of our colleagues had been killed on Tarqa.They had been shot either by the Adoo or by South Yemeni fighters who had been tipped off about the fishing party.
    Two of the original party of seven survived.One ran to freedom and another dived into a lagoon and eventually swam to safety and one of them got help.
    The shooters went onto the beach and riddled the bodies with bullets and I believe that the bodies were looted.The survivor in the water saw all this.
    I knew two of the dead.
    One was Tom Hothersall.I also served with his son Colin at RAF Linton -on -Ouse in 1976/77.( My knickname at Linton was Yan and at Thumrait Iwas known as the punk as I was only 22 years old and had an earring!)
    I hung around at Thumrait with Flash Rush,Grum,Greg,Kevin Betts and Terry Wain.Terry was also shot dead at Tarqa.
    The aircraft were scrambled and we all worked the hardest shift of our lives trying to be proffessional and to keep our spirits up by playing Huckers in the line hut and laughing and joking.
    The line hit cleaner was an Omani knicknamed same same and I believe that Rolo was in charge of the shift.
    It is now 33 years on and the event is vivid in my mind but some aspects of it may have been lost to me throughout that time.
    If anyone can enlighten me further on the event or correct any errors of my telling of the event please do so.
    All the best
    Ian

  11. #101
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1

    Thumrait & Khamis

    Bryn Goodwin here. In 1978 I spent 7 months at Thumrait as the Ferranti Rep.

    Ian; I think your recollection of the sad events in July is spot on. The shooting took place at about 11pm on a Thursday night when I was broadcasting down in Salalah on Radio 219. The next day I returned to Thumrait as part of an armed convoy, along with the two survivors. I even took photos of the return journey which I still have, including “Ambush Corner”.

    I also have about 60 photos of my time there, including photos of Jaguars in the hanger and on the flight line, plus photos of the mess, living accommodation, outdoor cinema, etc, along with photos of BAe & Elliott reps and various Airwork friends (photos are available on request!).

    Like “Jazzhamster” I too also spent time at Khamis Mushait. That was in 1968 when I was the Ferranti Rep looking after the AI23 radar fitted to the Magic Carpet Lightnings. Some Airwork names I recall are Judd Cooper and Tex Thomas and I think the Airwork boss at Khamis was called Admiral Wise. One of the Lightning pilots was Vaughan Radford.

  12. #102
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Hungerford, England
    Posts
    893
    Quote Originally Posted by Ferranti Rep View Post
    Bryn Goodwin here. In 1978 I spent 7 months at Thumrait as the Ferranti Rep.

    Ian; I think your recollection of the sad events in July is spot on. The shooting took place at about 11pm on a Thursday night when I was broadcasting down in Salalah on Radio 219. The next day I returned to Thumrait as part of an armed convoy, along with the two survivors. I even took photos of the return journey which I still have, including “Ambush Corner”.

    I also have about 60 photos of my time there, including photos of Jaguars in the hanger and on the flight line, plus photos of the mess, living accommodation, outdoor cinema, etc, along with photos of BAe & Elliott reps and various Airwork friends (photos are available on request!).

    Like “Jazzhamster” I too also spent time at Khamis Mushait. That was in 1968 when I was the Ferranti Rep looking after the AI23 radar fitted to the Magic Carpet Lightnings. Some Airwork names I recall are Judd Cooper and Tex Thomas and I think the Airwork boss at Khamis was called Admiral Wise. One of the Lightning pilots was Vaughan Radford.
    Bryn - pls check your PMs

  13. #103
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1

    Its been a long time Punk

    I only just found this site, I admit I haven't been looking for it. This is Ken Carr, I was probably the only one younger than you at Thumrait. I had my 21st birthday there in March 78. Shared a building in the old contractors site with Flash (Martin)Rush when I got there and you definately had the earring. There are some things I remember like yesterday, T3 bar when a chit was on, the wally camp for new flip-flops and the drive to Salalah. My hair was usually large and very curly after six months, and I had a broken arm at one point after an underwing tank dropped off the Jag wing when we were trying to load it, some pratt put the winch into neutral half way up and I was holding the fins. Lofty Gittens helped get me to the medics.

    The Tarqa shooting were a tough event, and even today it still brings back a lot of sad memories. I had been there for three weekends in a row with the guys, then I had to work till late on thursdays as something was happening on the Jag line, Flash and I went down friday morning in the early bus, and heard the news when we got there. Stunned silence and then how do we help out. I remember helping to pack up their things to send back to the relatives, and someone had left a bag of clothes one of them must have been wearing, blood stained and with seven holes, Im pleased we caught that before it got shipped. It wasn't the best week of my life I must admit, and I still have feeling of guilt today, I should feel lucky.

    I remember Tarqa vividly with its two headlands, the one nearest Salalah had an optical illusion as it seemed any truck on the headland looked like it was going uphill when in effect in was going down. The cove beach with the lake behind it, and in the distance the ruins of some fort rumoured to the Queen of Sheba's palace, at least thats what I was told. I remember swimming out past the headlands and catching crayfish with a spear, we'd cook them of a fire and one day we found the biggest purple crabs in the lake, they went on the fire also. We would sleep next to the bus or the campfire, who would have thought we were being watched, and the planning that went on, it was just an idyllic weekend to us.

    I can't remember the names now, thats the sadest part, but I remember their faces, the two who escaped, one who hid under the bus axle and then ran 15k in the morning to get help. Big guy blonde curly hair and a beard, could drink anyone under the table, and the guy who went into the water, he came back for a while but did his time and left. I wouldn't have come back after that.

    Both Flash and I left that xmas and went to Saudi, he ended up in Riyahd and I in Taif, I saw him once in Riyahd, his wife Jamie was with him them, I heard he bought his boarding house in Weymouth, good on him.

    I live in Sydney now, been here for 23 years and long out of the aviation industry, not much call for people who can fix guided missiles in Uk and I went off into Telco land and then a range of other things. Of all things we end up playing Oman at Soccer regularly and I have a few people I meet there occasionally.

    Still have lots of photographs if anyone wants copies, and I use Ayun Pools as my handle, as it was a place Flash and I went to a few times, great deep dark water pools in the rocks, icy cold. But driving a SOAF cruiser in the Jebel was never a smart idea.

    catch me at kencarr@me.com if you want me



    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Bowerman View Post
    Hi everyone,
    My name is Ian Bowerman.I was working for Airworks at Thumrait from oct 1977 on a 15 month contract.I was an E&I engineer on 1st line servicing on Hunters.
    On July 27 (i'm 90% sure of the date) my name was down to go on the fishing party to Tarqa.We had fished there and on other beaches near Salalah on several occasions trying to catch Grooper. On this occasion I finished my shift early and went to the bar at Thumrait to wait for the others to finish
    I was drinking double rums at 7p a pop and wound up fast asleep in a drunken stupor thus missing the trip.
    I was awoken in my room around 4:00 am the next day by Rob Ogilvie.He told me to get dressed quick as we needed to get the aircraft off the ground as five of our colleagues had been killed on Tarqa.They had been shot either by the Adoo or by South Yemeni fighters who had been tipped off about the fishing party.
    Two of the original party of seven survived.One ran to freedom and another dived into a lagoon and eventually swam to safety and one of them got help.
    The shooters went onto the beach and riddled the bodies with bullets and I believe that the bodies were looted.The survivor in the water saw all this.
    I knew two of the dead.
    One was Tom Hothersall.I also served with his son Colin at RAF Linton -on -Ouse in 1976/77.( My knickname at Linton was Yan and at Thumrait Iwas known as the punk as I was only 22 years old and had an earring!)
    I hung around at Thumrait with Flash Rush,Grum,Greg,Kevin Betts and Terry Wain.Terry was also shot dead at Tarqa.
    The aircraft were scrambled and we all worked the hardest shift of our lives trying to be proffessional and to keep our spirits up by playing Huckers in the line hut and laughing and joking.
    The line hit cleaner was an Omani knicknamed same same and I believe that Rolo was in charge of the shift.
    It is now 33 years on and the event is vivid in my mind but some aspects of it may have been lost to me throughout that time.
    If anyone can enlighten me further on the event or correct any errors of my telling of the event please do so.
    All the best
    Ian

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