View Full Version : RAF abroad

4th Feb 2005, 07:31
I'm sure there are lots of you ex RAF chaps out there with a fund of stories (BEags?) about the RAF's exploits abroad post war from the cockpit (or dispersal line). I'm particularly interested in all those "small wars" or "police actions" that we were engaged in as we put up the shutters on the Empire.
If they are funny all the better, if you have photo's - brilliant. If you wish, names will be withheld to protect the innocent!
The period should run from 1946-2000 and any "abroad" will do - ex's included.
I look forward to your tales.

4th Feb 2005, 11:29
The RAF do not have a monopoly on good times (and bad) overseas. I am sure that vintage civil aviators (or should I rephrase that to the old and bold) will have good stories from the "empire".

For me 9.5 years wearing a gas mask for hours on end in central europe and the odd `holiday` to Belize provided many years of work hard play hard which sadly no longer exists. Thinking too long about those days is a good way to induce depression for what has become UK Defence Force Plc, Tonys pawns, and Dubyas side kicks.

9th Feb 2005, 03:27
What are you looking for? I have lots of tales of good times overseas in the RAF.

Some of them even have aeroplanes in them ;)

10th Feb 2005, 11:45
Thanks for the offer. I'm looking for anything that tells a more personal side to serving in the RAF when abroad. There are a few tales on the Military Aircrew site that refer to overseas escapades and I am looking for stuff from say Malaya, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the nuclear trials in the Pacific or Australia, Lone Rangers on the V bomber fleet, Canberra reconnaisance, Tengah, Aden.
Britains-smallwars web site covers some of this but in a rather broad brush way without too many specifics (some of the aircraft info is a bit duff as well).
By the way this is for an OU paper. Thanks.

10th Feb 2005, 14:24
You should PM John Eacott and Milt, for a start, John served with the RN, and Milt the RAAF, and both are keen Ppruners, some of whose tales are already on Pprune on other threads.

13th Feb 2005, 13:35
The staging-post of Gan, Indian Ocean, early 60s.

Someone found a great sheet (24ft x 12ft) of armoured glass......
......it was decided to build a wonderful living aquarium.
Part of the sergeant's mess wall was removed, the glass inserted and a three sided wall erected around the glass.
Local rocks, coral and seaweed decorated the aquarium and all transiting aircraft were asked to collect fish from their destinations/bases to contribute to the collection.
When pretty well full of the most colourful and exotic fish, it was decided to organise a formal opening/party to coincide with the AOC's annual visit.

The Royal Naval station at the north of the island heard about the forthcoming celebration and requested an invitation. Due to previous and repeated mis-behaviour by our nautical colleagues, this was firmly refused.

On the appointed day, the AOC was invited to formally open the aquarium. Following a little speech he pulled on a cord, the draped parachute fell away from the great glass screen to reveal.............................................a single black shark with "HMS Rotter" painted on it, gently cruising around looking for more victims

18th Feb 2005, 07:54
Scene 1. The South China Sea.

A 205 Sqn Shackleton on patrol spots a suspicious looking vessel and does a couple of photo passes. During a final run directly towards the boat the two 20 mm cannon in the nose are depressed to clear the view for the photo. Seeing this, the crew assume that the Shack is about to open fire and jump overboard. The Shack then circles the scene and calls up the Royal Navy, who send along the customary gunboat. The Shackleton's victim is indeed a pirate ship and the RN 'Ton' Class Minesweeper arrests the crew and takes the boat in tow. Upon reaching Singapore's Naval Base - HMS Terror - they hand over the pirates for prosecution. All in a days work, except in this case the pirate's boat is sold off at auction and the RN crew are awarded "Prize Money".

Upon hearing about this 205 Squadron naturally ask for their share but the Matelots tell them politely to go away and play with their funny old aeroplanes.

Scene 2. HMS Terror a few weeks later.

The C-inC Far East Fleet is conducting his customary annual inspection and a splendid parade of Jolly Jack Tars is under way on the parade ground. A lone Shackleton appears, flying up the Strait direct from Changi. As it comes overhead the Naval Base parade ground the bomb bay is opened. It is full of "Government Property" which flutters down upon the assembled sailors, completely ruining their parade and providing the Royal Navy with enough toilet paper to last until the withdrawal from East of Suez. Once they've gathered it all up that is. There is a word written on the inside of the bomb doors - "Oops!"

There I told you I could tell some that have aeroplanes in them.

Would you like to hear about the Campagne Bar? There's a one-legged bar-girl, a fifty year old 'girl' with no teeth and two sailors in that one. Or, how about my initiation to a pint of "Tiger Special" in the Tokyo Bar on my second night in Singapore? ["Whatever you do, don't look under the table"] :ok:

18th Feb 2005, 13:05
A now gone mate used to talk about RAN piracy patrols in the South China Sea in Gannets. No 20mm, no HE but 60lb concrete heads on RP was OK.

18th Feb 2005, 13:54
1960 Scene One - The Persian Gulf 20 miles southwest of Bahrain. A Pembroke of 152 Squadron is acting as target on a gunnery practice exercise for HMS Loch Fyne.

The frigate lowers the (black & white I think) flag indicating gunnery training is in practice. As usual VHF contact has been lost. To confirm no more "attacks" are needed, I carry out a low flypast rocking the wings. When abeam the frigates it opens fire with a multigun broadside. The Pembroke shudders to a rattling sound and my mind is filled with the vision of a row of dents along the port side of the fuselage. Fortunately only small pieces of wadding and burnt gunpowder were visible after landing and were easily cleaned off.

Scene Two - The same area two weeks later.

In response to a signal from HQRNPG for one Pembroke to act as a target during Loch Fyne's annual inspection, one Pembroke departs Muharraq for the exercise area. Visibility is poor with blowing sand. Twenty minutes later I take off in a SECOND Pembroke, staying below fifty feet. As the first aircraft breaks away after being well and truly "shot down" by the frigates radar controlled guns, I start a low level attack from the opposite direction. Not a single gun turned, not a muzzle moved, resulting in one unimpressed Admiral and a signal from Loch Fyne's Captain complaining about the lack of fair play from the Crabs!

Scene Three six months later - The Persian Gulf 50 miles south east of Doha. A Pembroke, rear pax door removed, is enroute to a mail drop on Loch Fyne.
The ship is not where it is supposed to be! Eventually it is located some way from it's reported position. As usual it was not possible to establish VHF contact so, a low flypast was carried out. The frigate launches a small boat and awaits the drop a hundred yards away. Three runs will be required, each one involve free dropping a blue waterproofed mail bag attached to a 1ft diameter metal buoy. The first two runs were completed without a hitch with surprising accuracy (10-15 yards). On the third and final run I call "drop" to the Nav who is kneeling by the door. He throws the mail out. The bag arcs away from the aircraft and lands inside the wallowing boat, fortunately missing both occupants. One more low flypast confirmed both seamen were and unhurt and furiously bailing out water!

Scene four - A 152 Squadron get together with the officers from Loch Fyne in the wardroom of RNHQ Jufair several weeks later.

Hatchets are buried, many drinks are drunk and friendly relations are restored!