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Old 3rd May 2011, 07:25
  #49 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Hampshire
Age: 74
Posts: 820
June 1967

I have been reading about the accidents in Perpignan and Stockport and wondered if anybody can help me with giving my memory a kick start?
During the early part of 1967, I was posted, as a soldier, from Aden to Francistown, Botswana.
At the end of my stint there, the MoD had to charter an aircraft to get us back to Aden. The reason for this was the Argosy I had arrived on "ruined" the runway. Arriving at the end of the most rainy period in Botswana's history, the Argosy apparently left ruts in the runway on arrival!
Anyway, an aircraft was chartered from Manston. I don't remember the type but I seem to remember the term "Argonaut" being used.
My RAF pal who was responsible for loading and fuelling visiting aircraft was telling me tales of how the aircraft didn't want to balance when empty and of yards of masking tape in use in various places in the hold.
We flew from Francistown to Mombasa and being at night, it was pretty boring, with the exception of the regular appearance of a crew member from the flight deck to what appeared to be a radio equipment bay where he occasionally swapped boxes from one bay to another, with the odd kick. Being a radio technician myself, I fully understood the technique of kicking the damn thing!
As we approached the eastern side of Africa, the aircraft descended and appeared to follow the coast for quite some distance before arriving at Mombasa. Lovely views of the beaches but we were all left wondering if the pilot was using the coast as a route map!
From Mombasa, we flew in a northerly direction until we encountered Djibouti, where we did a right wheel and eventually found Aden.
The aircraft was turned around and headed of back to Francistown to collect more returning soldiers and deliver replacements.
A week or so later, one of my mates from the Botswana posting who had returned after me came into my room, all agog with the news that, according to him, the aircraft we had flown in had just crashed.
I think the aircraft in question was possibly the Air Ferry one that crashed approaching Perpignan.
I wonder if anyone has information on whether or not it was indeed Air Ferry that had been used for these trooping flights?

PS It was not a good year for anyone flying on anything I had previously flown on. Having returned to UK from Aden on an RAF Britannia cas-evac flight in October 1967, I heard the aircraft returned to Aden with mail, spares, nurses etc and failed to stop on the runway at Khormaksar. The aircraft was destroyed but there were apparently no casualties.
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