In 1965, No.111 Squadron formed a display team of nine Lightning F.3s which displayed at the Paris Air Show that year in formation with the Red Arrows Gnats. Does anyone know if they carried out any other displays, if so where and when. Also can anyone put names to faces in this photo?
Nine Lightning F.3s of No.111 Squadron, Wattisham, “The Black Diamonds”'
Sqn Ldr G P Black, Capt R Chisholm RCAF, Flt Lts C I Carr-White, J Mitchell, M B Bullocke, D M A Samuels, H Molland, E R Perreaux and P J W Creigh. Flt Lt B C Allchin (56 Sqn) attached for Paris air show. Flt Lt A J R Doyle solo aerobatic pilot.
Black Knights, Black Arrows, Redskins, Blue Diamonds, Red Pelicans, Yellowjacks, Red Arrows and even the Blue Chips, but I hadn't until now heard of the Black Diamonds. The only trace I can find is the RAAF team which flew Sabres in the 60s.
Was it an official RAF name? Or an informal team tribute to their leader, Sqn Ldr (George) Black?
I was CCF [Royal Artillery] - our training was done at the TT on the old Middlebrough road. I vaguely remember a squadron, number unknown, of Javelins known as the Black Diamonds. Again not sure if they were at Thornaby or Middleton - hope my memory is not completely faulty.
As the RAF's premier aerobatic team, the Hunter display team from 111 Squadron was known as the "The Black Arrows" from 1957 - 1960. Why the press agency should want to call them anything else is known only unto themselves??
I fondly remember the Lightning displays in the 60s. I saw all the teams and particularly remember the high-speed arrival at low-level from behind the crowd.
I've been wondering how all this was managed. The teams were front-line squadrons, so how did they find the time and the aircraft hours for their practices and displays, while carrying out their "day jobs"?
Was it difficult to generate 9 (or 10?) aircraft on a routine basis?
And most importantly, what did they do about fuel? Did they have a group of tankers following them around?
Location: 26000 to 28,000 lightyears from the galatic centre
I was once told by my old (Now dead ) CFI Stan Ward that this team when returning to EGUW from a display flew a low pass along Runway 32 / 14 at Ipswich. Seems it caused a bit of a fuss in the town centre!!
In 1955 the first Hunters had arrived, and two years later No 111 Squadron was nominated as the official RAF aerobatic team. At first the team, known as the 'Black Arrows', flew five and then nine aircraft until, at the 1958 Farnborough airshow, the Squadron, aided by No 56 Squadron, entered the record books when it successfully looped twenty-two aircraft! In 1961, the unit converted to Lightnings, successive marks staying until 1974 when Phantoms arrived. Following a move from Coningsby to Leuchars, the Squadron re-equipped with ex-Royal Navy Phantoms and these survived until the early 1990s when Tornado F3s became the Squadron mount.
'Blue Diamonds' was the name given to 92 Sqdn - I believe with Brian Mercer as the original team leader. A great team - as they all were.
I' pretty sure my second QFI at Valley (first went back to what was then Rhodesia), Mike Smith, had been on 92, "Blue Diamonds". Most frustrating guy to teach me formation exercises - he was picture-perfect every sortie, the whole sortie.
Last edited by Wander00; 14th Jun 2014 at 16:51.
Reason: Second thought!
After the Greeks & Turks started shooting at each other Dec 63. The Turkish Air Force 'buzzed' parts of Cyprus with F-100's. By the time the Javelin's at Nicosia were airborne, the F-100's were back in Turkey.
So the powers that be sent a Squadron of Lightnings to Akrotiri, it was 111.
Between their arrival, probably Jan 64 and my departure from Akrotiri, Oct 64. 111 gave at least one display there. Maybe it was Battle of Britain Day.
Brian Mercer was the boss on 92 when I first arrived on the sqn as an Air Radar Fitter. His replacement was S/L 'Paddy' Hine (later ACM Sir Patrick) We had lots of Hunters and if you scratched one or two of them the black ex 111 paint would appear. We later re-equipped with the Lightning and I well remember S/L Hine's demo to the visiting Saudi Delegation who were considering buying the Lightning.