The rare and interesting Air Operations Iraq Photographic Interpreter and Iraq Op Telic September 2005 Basra Prison Break Support Operations 201 Squadron Nimrod Maritime Reconnaissance Air Engineer Operator’s flying log book group awarded to Serge...

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Product ID: CMA/31881
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Description:

The rare and interesting Air Operations Iraq Photographic Interpreter and Iraq Op Telic September 2005 Basra Prison Break Support Operations 201 Squadron Nimrod Maritime Reconnaissance Air Engineer Operator’s flying log book group awarded to Sergeant M. Powell, Royal Air Force, who originally saw service as a Photographic Interpreter with the RAF between November 1990 and April 1997, including operating in support of the air policing operations over Iraq ensuring the no fly zone. Having left and the rejoined in April 2001, he qualified as aircrew, specifically as a Air Electronics Operator (Sonar) who crewed the aircraft manning the underwater sensors on anti-submarine work, and gaining his flying brevet in March 2003. Powell flew operationally with 201 Squadron operating in Nimrod aircraft out of Kinloss between February 2004 and 3rd June 2009, in which period he amassed over 1150 flying hours. Numerous intriguing sorties occurred, but he was most active on an operational footing between August and October 2004 when patrolling the Persian Gulf, and flying in and out of Basra, and again during September 2005. It was in this month that he flew into Basra, and after a number of local operations, it was on the 19th September that his log book simply notes ‘Rescue SRR x 2’ during a five hour sortie. The SRR (Special Reconnaissance Regiment) is a mistake for SAS (Special Air Service) as it was on this date that two undercover SAS soldiers disguised in Arab civilian garments and headdresses opened fire on Iraqi Police officers after having been stopped at a roadblock. Iraqi police found explosives in the British soldiers vehicle. Two Iraqi officers were shot, at least one of whom died. The two British men were arrested and taken to the Al Jameat police station. The two SAS operators were part of Operation Hathor whose objective was keeping an Iraqi Police officer (who ran a crime unit with rumoured links to corruption and brutality in the city) under surveillance. Tension was already high between the Iraqi Police and British forces and when Iraqi policeman tried to pull the operators from their vehicle at the roadblock, they opened fire, killing two of the policemen. The SAS men drove off with Iraqi Police in pursuit, but feeling they could not outrun them they decided to stop and talk their way out of it. The Iraqi police beat and arrested them. In response, twenty members of 'A 'Squadron 22 SAS, a platoon of paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group flew from Baghdad to Basra. Other SAS operators tracked down their two colleagues to Al Jameat police station and then withdrew and called in Hathor's QRF (Quick Reaction Force) in Basra, whilst a predator drone fed the UK JOC a live feed on the prison. Members of 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment were the spearhead of the operation, taking the lead in the operation to rescue the 2 SAS soldiers after significant small arms fire and RPG attacks the men from the Battalion Assaulted the police station securing it ensuring the safe extraction of the 2 SAS soldiers. This incident is now famous as the ‘Basra Prison Incident’ and Powell clearly played his part in the operations. Modern aircrew groups with log book are most unusual.

Group of 4: Campaign Service Medal 1962, 1 Clasp: Air Operations Iraq; (SAC M POWELL (F8418166) RAF); Iraq Medal 2003-2011, no clasps; (LAC M POWELL (F8418166) RAF); Jubilee Medal 2002; Royal Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, EIIR Dei.Grat. with swivel suspension; (SGT M POWELL RAF F8418166), mounted court style as worn, the wearing pin detached.

Condition: Good Very Fine.

Together with the following:

Royal Air Force Aircrew Flying Log Book, issued to ‘Matt Powell’, covering the period from 6th August 2002 to 19th December 2002 when undergoing training as an Air Electronics Operator with No.55 Reserve Squadron at Cranwell, these dates all vouched for in March 2003, and then again from 3rd September 2003 to 4th January 2004 with No.42 Reserve Squadron at Kinloss; and from 4th February 2004 through to 3rd June 2009 when operating with 201 Squadron out of RAF Kinloss, and flying in Nimrod aircraft as an Air Electronics Operator (Sonar) who crewed the aircraft manning the underwater sensors on anti-submarine work.

Royal Air Force College Cranwell No.3 Flying Training School Graduation Ceremony Programme for 14th March 2003. Powell is listed under No.209 Air Electronics Operator (Sonar) Course. Gives details of service up till then.

Certificate issued by No.55 Reserve Squadron to Sergeant M Powell on his having qualified as a Air Electronics Operator through No.3 Flying Training School with effect from 14th March 2003.

Royal Air Force Air Engineer Operator’s single wing flying brevet.

Pair of shoulder rank slides for a Sergeant (Aircrew) in the Royal Air Force.

Royal Air Force 201 Flying Boat Squadron flying suit badge with velcro fastenings.

Certificate issued by the Commander in Chief Fleet and Air Officer Commanding No.2 Group to ’Sgt Matt Powell’ for successfully completing the Dstl Naval Systems (MDAG) Advanced Acoustic Analysis Course No.105, dated 30th June 2006.

Certificate issued by ASIS SPT FLT 5 SQN FGW Lynchgate Training to Sgt Powell on successful completion of Lynchgate Overview Training, dated 2nd December 2009.

Recipient’s Royal Air Force Testimonial and Narrative of Service, issued at RAF Kinloss on 29th August 2011.

2 x Group photographs of the Air Cadets and Staff of No.207 Airman Aircrew Initial Training Course from 1st April to 22nd June 2001. All present with their names annotated, Air Cadet Powell identified second row first from left.

2 x Group photographs of No.42 Reserve Squadron, not annotated though Powell is identified second row second from left.

2 x Group photographs of the day that Powell received his Air Crew brevet, as taken at Cranwell with No.3 Flying Training School in March 2003. Not annotated, however Powell is identified second row third from right, wearing his medal with Air Operations Iraq clasp and the Jubilee 2002.

Matthew Powell, known as Matt, was born on 13th July 1973, and having gained six O-Levels, then joined the Royal Air Force direct from school and having qualified for a ground job in the role of a Photographic Interpreter, he was posted to R.A.F. Swinderby in November 1990 as an Air Craftsman (No.F8418166). In January 1991 he transferred to RAF Wyton, and in April 1991 to RAF Honington, followed by RAF Brampton from August 1993. Having seen service as a Leading Air Craftsman during the air policing operations over Iraq ensuring the no fly zone at some stage during the period from 16th July 1991 to 30th April 2003, he was awarded the Campaign Service Medal with clasp for Air Operations Iraq, and then left the Royal Air Force in April 1997 to pursue a career in Leisure and Retail Management.

Having decided to return to service, he rejoined the Royal Air Force in April 2001, and having opted for Air Crew training, was then posted to the RAF College at Cranwell, initially as part of the No.207 Airman Aircrew Initial Training Course from 1st April to 22nd June 2001 and rank as an Air Cadet. Powell then received a posting to No.3 Flying Training School at Cranwell. He passed the HF/CRM Foundation Course on 1st October 2001. Having then opted for specialist training, he went forward for training as an Air Electronics Operator and after ground instruction, in August 2002 began flying training with No.55 Reserve Squadron at Cranwell flying in Dominie aircraft. He passed the training through No.209 Air Electronics Operator (Sonar) Course and gained his coveted ‘AE’ flying brevet on 14th March 2003.

Powell was now a qualified Air Electronics Operator (Sonar) abbreviated to AEoP(S), who are known as Wet Guys (i.e. below water sensors), and he was then posted to No.42 Reserve Squadron at RAF Kinloss in Moray, Scotland in September 2003 where he underwent training on the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, and having transitioned to the aircraft, was then posted operational to join No.201 Squadron at Kinloss in February 2004. 201 Squadron is the only RAF Squadron to be affiliated with Guernsey in the Channel Islands, and was then an anti-submarine warfare squadron, maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue squadron which was active over the Gulf Region and the United Kingdom. The squadron had been equipped with the Nimrod aircraft in its various forms since October 1970. At the time that Powell joined it, the squadron was flying the Nimrod MMR2 aircraft.

Having teamed up with the crew of Flight Lieutenant Bowell, he flew on Op Forsdale on 10th to 11th April 2004, and then on Op Harmala from 3rd May to 25th May 2004. On 31st July 2004 he flew in Seeb in Oman to begin operations over the Persian Gulf, and on 7th August flew in Basra, before returning to Seeb on 24th August, and flew back to Basra from 2nd September to conduct further operations. By October he was back at Kinloss, having completed a tour in support of Operation Telic in Iraq. Interestingly when Powell received his Iraq Medal it was named to him as a Leading Air Craftman, presumably an error on issue, as he was then a Sergeant. Powell now seems to fly with different pilots, and whilst flying with a Flight Lieutenant Pilkington on 19th January 2005, the aircraft was forced to return early owing to fumes having been smelt in the cabin. Under a Flight Lieutenant Dunning, he was scrambled and conducted a search and rescue mission over the Scilly Islands on 27th February 2005. During March 2005 under the same pilot he participated in Op Barcliff and Op Carib Venture whilst out in the Caribbean and operating from Curacao.

September 2005 was to be an interesting month as he returned to the Middle East in an aircraft captained by Flight Lieutenant Melville. On 1st September he took part in Op Chobdaha, and on 3rd September in Op Calash. On 11th September he flew in Basra, and then on 12th September flew in Op Wavell II, and on 14th September flew on Op Welland (Jaffa). On the 15th, 16th, and twice on the 17th he took part in Op Earheart (Fartuzi), but it was on the 19th September that his log book simply notes ‘Rescue SRR x 2’ during a five hour sortie. The SRR (Special Reconnaissance Regiment) is probably a mistake for SAS (Special Air Service) as it was on the 19th September 2005 that two undercover SAS soldiers disguised in Arab civilian garments and headdresses opened fire on Iraqi Police officers after having been stopped at a roadblock. Iraqi police found explosives in the British soldiers vehicle. Two Iraqi officers were shot, at least one of whom died. The two British men were arrested and taken to the Al Jameat police station. The two SAS operators were part of Operation Hathor whose objective was keeping an Iraqi Police officer (who ran a crime unit with rumoured links to corruption and brutality in the city) under surveillance. Tension was already high between the Iraqi Police and British forces and when Iraqi policeman tried to pull the operators from their vehicle at the roadblock, they opened fire, killing two of the policemen. The SAS men drove off with Iraqi Police in pursuit, but feeling they could not outrun them they decided to stop and talk their way out of it. The Iraqi police beat and arrested them.

In response, twenty members of 'A 'Squadron 22 SAS and a platoon of paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group flew from Baghdad to Basra. Other SAS operators tracked down their two colleagues to Al Jameat police station and then withdrew and called in Hathor's QRF (Quick Reaction Force) in Basra, whilst a predator drone fed the UK JOC a live feed on the prison. Members of 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment were the spearhead of the operation, taking the lead in the operation to rescue the 2 SAS soldiers after significant small arms fire and RPG attacks the men from the Battalion Assaulted the police station securing it ensuring the safe extraction of the 2 SAS soldiers.

This incident is now famous as the ‘Basra Prison Incident’ and Powell clearly played his part in the action. The aircraft would have used to conduct overhead surveillance for the operations. On 21st September Powell then flew in Op Minerva in an aircraft captained by a Squadron Leader Gray, this being another Special Forces support operation, in which six arrests were made. He was still with Gray for a sortie made on 22nd September known as Op Bacchus, and with Melville once again in the pilot’s seat, flew to Seeb in Oman on 27th September, before taking part in Op Calash on 30th September. On 7th October he flew in Op Chobdama, and then on the 16th and 17th October flew in Op Cactus, before transition back to Kinloss on the 20th October, having touched down in Cyprus on the way.

From Kinloss on 23rd November he flew in Op Barossa, and was once again employed with various pilots, though the majority of the sorties were with a Flight Lieutenant Riley. On 6th September 2006 he flew out to California and took part in the US Joint Forces Command Exercise known as Empire Challenge at China Lake, and was back home on the 28th September. Powell was off operations and did not perform any flying between January and June 2007 owing to having been ill, and having two further flight in June of that year, was once again ‘certified no flying’ between July 2007 and January 2008. In March 2008 he was posted to Ground School for a short course with No.42 Reserve Squadron at Kinloss and in April 2008 began more regular flying with 201 Squadron. On 19th June 2008 he notes that Des Brown the Secretary of State for Defence visited the squadron. By this stage he was flying regularly with a Flight Lieutenant Arands, and on the 24th and 25th September took part in Op Flaxman, and on the 19th October in Op Corona.

In November 2008 he flew in two sorties during Op Brezhna Sheen in support of Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, the sorties occurred on the 21st and 22nd November, though these were not enough to qualify for an form of medallic recognition. He was shortly afterwards back at Kinloss. On 8th January 2009 he flew a sortie to shadow the Russian anti-submarine destroyer ‘Admiral Chabanenko’ which was straying too close to British waters. Powell’s last operational flight occurred on 3rd June 2009, by which stage he had amassed 1155:45 flying hours, with 805:25 hours in daylight, and 350:20 hours at night.

Powell then assumed ground duties. As Powell’s Narrative of Service from his RAF Testimonial reads: ‘during a reorganisation of personnel and their roles and responsibilities in preparation to receive new Nimrod Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft at Royal Air Force Kinloss, Sergeant Powell was seconded to the team in October 2009, to augment the Imagery Section due to his previous experience within this specialisation. Despite being no longer employed in his primary role, Sergeant Powell drew on his previous experience very quickly and became an invaluable member of the team. His responsibilities including the uploading, analysis, dissemination and ultimately the archiving of imagery derived products. When more junior colleagues arrived within the section he became a mentor and was able to integrate new members of staff rapidly. In addition, Sergeant Powell also prepared and presented verbal, intelligence derived, briefings to the Station Executive and wider Staton audience which were delivered in a confident and professional manner. During this time on the team, Sergeant Powell has required access to and has been responsible for, information of a classified nature and has at all times been wholly trustworthy.’

In addition to all of the above, Powell was ‘instrumental in developing a training package for an aircraft mounted electro-optical surveillance system which is now used across the Royal Air Force’ and in his spare time, he was ‘a keen and very successful member of the Royal Air Force Road Cycling and Time Trialling Team and organised the team training venues which, on occasion, were held overseas’.

Awarded the Royal Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in the London Gazette for 2nd March 2010, he was discharged on 23rd November 2011, his last service trade being listed that of a Weapon Systems Operator.