View Full Version : Sqn Ldr Bill Langworthy
14th Jul 2012, 05:40
Currently researching for a book about my Father and his twin brother Dicks careers in the RAF, Bill ex pilot 73sqn, 1 FTS, CFS, Red Pelicans, Red Arrows, 4sqn, 2sqn and SOAF, Dick ex 73sqn Belvederes, Pumas, 18sqn Chinook earning DFC on BN during Falklands conflict. Any info, recollections, pictures etc will be most welcome
14th Jul 2012, 08:23
Was with Dick on Pumas at Odiham in the early 70's. He came in one morning after a thunderstorm, very amused by his small childs 'daddy - sky go bang'!
14th Jul 2012, 10:04
Bill & I were on the Jag OCU together. He later went to FRG and think he landed wheels up in a Jag. Typical QFI:D I should know, I'm a QFI and I screw up!
I'm guessing its Howard - Check your PM's
14th Jul 2012, 12:38
I flew with Dick Lanworthy in a Puma to Copenhagen when he was on Standards, he borrowed a Puma from the OCU where i was an Engineer, enroute his brother passed under us in a Jaguar.
Passing over Antwerp and upon finding yet another cling film wrapped Chicken leg ( they were in every meal box you used to get in those days )
He commented on not another piece of damn Chicken, opened the DV window and flung it out, I often wonder if some Belgique was happily wandering along when a pre-cooked, pre-wrapped chicken leg fell from the sky in front of him.
14th Jul 2012, 15:44
OMS had the privilege of being with Bill on II(AC) Sqn (The worlds oldest fixed wing Sqn) at Laarbruch and I have very fond memories of him. I remember him stood on the gold dispersal spline watching the Dutch show off their brand new F-16s by getting airborne in a very short distance and accelerating into a vertical climb (because they could) Bill, our senior jag pilot said..."I`ll show em" and took off in the Jaguars more sedately style (i.e. using re-heat to taxi and making sure the traffic lights in Well were at red before rolling).
Of course....His party piece came in the landing phase...streaming the chute at about 10 ft above the threshold - he could bring the jet to a halt before the end of the piano keys....
For a different take on his "wheels up" incident take a look at website shineytwojag
and read "the SENGOs Shoes" in the stories
Best of luck with the book...it should be a great read!
'Jaguar Bill' as we called him was a sim instrcutor of ours at Linton. IIRC he was always 'obscured by smoke' (he had a belt fed habit) he was a joy to be instructed by even if you did have to brief outside (so he could have another). I recall he was a bit of a single seat bigot, in the nicest sense. When we first met he nodded approvingly at my RN rank slides and said something along the lines of "Sea jet, single seat, we like single seat.", and then asked, "What do you think of the guys who want to go twin seat?". I started stammering through a 'back bone of the RAF' and 'well in certain situations' and 'if the jet's mechanised correctly' type answer which he stopped with a slow shake of the head and simply said "No."
14th Jul 2012, 18:18
"Brother Bill" caused a number of sharp intakes of breath at Dick's funeral when he walked in wearing uniform ...
... they were indeed like peas in a pod ... and both sqn ldrs ... both with AFCs IIRC .... (OK, so RW had a DFC as well) ...
It was scary enough when you KNEW there was a twin ... if you hadn't known ....:eek::eek::eek:
And I'm sure it was Dick (with ever-present fag on) who said:
"Yes .... Brother Bill ..... first man to get 1000 hours on the Jag - and the first to do a wheels-up in one!"
14th Jul 2012, 20:59
Dick left part way through my time at Tern Hill to go to Pumas and came back a while later to demonstrate this magical new beast. My abiding memory is of him demo-ing a feet-off vertical climb - something beyond the comprehension of we mere mortals!! Lovely chap.
14th Jul 2012, 23:31
I was told a story (by Dick himself, I think) about the day that Bill turned up in his jet while Dick was on his helicopter course. Whilst waiting for Dick to land, Bill put his feet up in the crewroom and relaxed, only for Dick's instructor to walk in and see him.
He gave "Dick" a mouthful, expecting a "Yessir, sorry sir!" in response. Instead he got an unexpected tirade of abuse in return....from lookalike Bill (quite deliberately done)!
You can imagine the mayhem that caused.
I flew with Dick a few times when I was a junior pilot on Pumas in the late 1970s. His reputation went before him and he was known not to tolerate fools. I was pleasantly surprised to find he was a perfect gent and very keen to help me improve my skills and knowledge. He was also always keen to discuss his lime green, 1950s, oval rear windscreen VW Beetle, his pride and joy.
He did my first Puma night categorisation check ride from Odiham in late 1979. We were flying in very poor visibility in haze and were going to a field landing site for me to do a few circuits. The crewman of the only other aircraft flying was in the process of switching off and gathering in the night landing "T" lights because they thought everyone else would have scrubbed due to the weather. Dick asked me to make a decision about continuing with the sortie or not, and I said not. However, he made me persevere with the navigation and asked the other pilot to remain on the ground with just his nav lights on until our arrival.
I landed alongside the other Puma (flown by the late Derek Smith, IIRC) and Dick said: "There you are then, well done; if you can navigate here and land safely in these weather conditions, without a night "T", you can certainly do it with one!"
He took control, told me to relax, and flew us back to base. And I knew I had just passed the checkride. :ok:
15th Jul 2012, 07:40
Howard - I served with your Dad at Laarbruch on Shiny Two and have a few tales to tell. I note your location as Aylesbury; I'm just down the road in Hemel Hempstead if you want to make contact.
15th Jul 2012, 08:23
Do I remember correctly that it was Bill who had a problem with a Jag that kept rolling? would like to hear more.
15th Jul 2012, 10:53
Yes - Bill at Laarbruch again. Jag on post maintenance airtest - jet took off and the tailplane PFCU became "disconnected" (allegedly). uncontrolled roll at about 20-30 ft. Bill decides to leave.
He famously said after "When I saw brown again I Pulled the handle" This fitted perfectly with the Mk 9 Ejection seat timing sequence and put him in the air and not the ground. :D
The jet failed its air test.:(
15th Jul 2012, 11:35
IIRC it was the ejection from the T bird which brought on the story about S Eng O being dined out from the squadron. On the day of the ejection, Bill went first and S Eng O went later.
At the dining out S Eng O was presented with a Flying Log Book in which there was a single entry recording the sortie in question. In the column titled: 'Captain and First Pilot', had been entered "2 seconds"
15th Jul 2012, 18:58
No mention of SOAF yet for Langers?
Top bloke-excellent aviator and a player!!
15th Jul 2012, 20:37
I'm afraid this is another Dick anecdote - not Bill. I knew Bill, but have no worthwhile anecdotes to offer, other than my recollection that he was a consummate professional aviator.
I floated into Port San Carlos on an LSL from HERMES in '82, as one of two RAF Harrier pilots to set up a rotation for cockpit readiness response to Army requests for Air Support.
The two of us were offloaded onto FEARLESS, then transferred by RM helo to the strip, which the REs were putting down. The RM helo spent all of 15 seconds on the ground getting rid of us, and we were left to sort ourselves out. The REs pointed us towards a house which they knew was occupied by the RAF, and there was Dick with his crew. They were helpful and told us how to find somewhere to sleep - and all was well.
A few days later, I returned to HERMES from the strip. spent a night on board, and then went back to the strip. I negotiated a bottle of Scotch from the Wardroom, which I stuffed behind the ejection seat, and when I got out at Port San Carlos, I proudly carried it into the BN house, expecting a rousing applause. Dick looked over his glasses at me, said "thank you", opened the cupboard next to where he was sitting, and put my bottle inside, next to a wide selection of booze that was already there. I then found out that the off-duty crew had hitched a ride onto CANBERRA to have a shower, and left with an enormous Red Cross Parcel put together by CANBERRA which made my bottle of Scotch look pathetic. But Dick was a gentleman, and accepted my offering with grace - he also did a damn fine job with BN supporting the troops in extremely difficult conditions: a well-deserved DFC.
The Langworthy twins served the RAF and their country exceedingly well; their mother deserved to be proud of them.
16th Jul 2012, 13:42
I knew your father very well. We served together at Lossiemouth on the Jaguar OCU, and in the capacity of Staneval to the Jaguar force. Bill was also in Oman with me.
16th Jul 2012, 14:12
My brother was on the same Pilot Course, No102, at R.A.F. Oakington passing out in February 1955.
I still have the passing out programme with the group photo.
If you want a copy please let me know.
18th Jul 2012, 16:30
would love a copy of this
19th Jul 2012, 20:43
Knew your Dad well in Oman. Some tales and I think the odd picture. PM if I can help. Bill.
20th Jul 2012, 08:47
Your Dad occasionally stopped over with us in Lansab on his way back to Thumrait, I looked up to him as someone might look up to a very accomplished uncle/ family member. He was never too busy to take me out to Six Sqn and let me sit in a Hunter when my dad popped up to do some FAC. Top man. :ok:
25th Jul 2012, 18:47
Dick features in the video in the Skywatch - video thread ( SkyWatch - The Royal Air Force 'in action' - (BBC 21/6/1974) - YouTube ) and Bill may well be there too.
I assume you have the painting that used to hang on the wall of the simulator office at Coltishall when Bill and I were both there, depicting the roll after takeoff accident.
26th Jul 2012, 15:44
I know the painting you mean but have not seen it for many years have to do some digging