View Full Version : 205 Sqn Shackletons at Changi early 1960's

19th Dec 2008, 12:41
I'm scanning aircraft photos I took at Changi in the early 60s and 205's Shackltons feature quite heavily.
Are there any aircrew from that time lurking here? I would like to produce an article for an aviation magazine and wonder if anyone has any stories to share.
I was a teenager then and my only contact with the sqn was a family friend, Arthur Greenacre, a flight engineer. I remember he was always deafened for days afterwards on returning from the Gan detachment.
I do remember that Arthur had been ground crew in WW2 and wangled himself on a mission.
Alas he was shot down and became a 'kriege'. On return, all his records were lost ...so he had suddenly become 'aircrew' from then on.

Here's some pics to jog memories.


205 Sqn line up on their 'eastern dispersal' in 1962.


MR1A's on the PSP side of the pan in 1961.


A 2C doing bombing practice at a target towed behind the Seletar Air sea Rescue launch 2755 in 1963.

Steve Bond
19th Dec 2008, 14:29
Magnificent! Many thanks for sharing them - any more?

Bucc Man
22nd Dec 2008, 19:27
Very evocative, superb, more please!:cool:

22nd Dec 2008, 21:14
By popular request then, here's few more.

This is an MR1A VP267 in late 1961.

The Mk 2C's were beginning to arrive, certainly by the start of 1962. They had to go off to be painted and slowly began to fill in the line of 205 Sqn aircraft over on the far side of the runway from where I lived.
Changi had an 02/20 North/South runway with the taxiway down the western side of the runway. On the northern end of the runway was a road that led around to 205 Sqns dispersal. Here is a shot of a Mk2c doing a very low run down or slightly to the side of the runway from that road.

It was quite a walk for me to go round to the Eastern dispersal but on one occasion I raced around after school (I was 14). A detachment of Aussie Neptunes turned up for a short stay and were based alongside their RAF 'maritime' collegues.

I thought these guys were really fantastic. Well they had jet engines slung under their wings as well as great sounding prop engines!
My dad had been at Topcliffe a few years before, where Neptunes had been based, so I knew they weren't 'really modern aircraft' but they just seemed to have such style-with all those pointy radomes making them look like very serious anti-sub machines.
I wonder what the Brit crews thought of them.
Here's a closer shot of one

Many aircraft in the far East got 'tattoed' by the Aussie's and New Zealanders on visits and often 205s Shackletons wore kangaroos or kiwi's.
One of the Neptunes was painted with a 205 Sqn 'penguin' emblem, so I guess we got our own back sometimes.
I think I'll start another thread in a few days, as I've quite a few pics showing these adornments on a wide range of visiting planes.

David Taylor.

22nd Dec 2008, 21:47
I found the decorated 11 sqn RAAF Neptune. The 205 sqn penguin here has the motif 'No Flap Nolly'. I wonder what the Neptune did to get the whale emblem?

David Taylor.

Bucc Man
23rd Dec 2008, 19:13
Great stuff David, I love the locals totally ignoring the low pass!!

24th Dec 2008, 09:20
Wonderful photos. Whilst I never saw any Shacks of the variants in the photos flying I can remember some being broken up on the dump at St Athan in the 70's.

It seems such a long time since the AEW2's of 8 sqn stopped flying. A great sight and sound never to be forgotten.

26th Dec 2008, 15:07
Great aircraft and great pictures, more please?:)

27th Dec 2008, 11:08
If you want more Shackletons here are a couple taken at Lajes Field in the Azores in December and January 1957/8. The 120 Squadron Mk 1 Shackleton with "Grapple" symbols on it's fins was on the way home from a Christmas Island detachment.


28th Dec 2008, 11:32
Great stuff, brings back such memories. In your low pass photo the nearer of the two white buildings was the Target Towing Flight and the other was ARSF, where I worked as a very young JT air radar fitter.

When the confrontation with Indonesia started, the Telok Paku road in the picture was fenced off which stopped a very handy short cut through the trees to Changi village.

At one point I was transferred to 205's Sonar Buoy section. One of the perks was to take a van to the navy base to collect buoys that ships on exercise had recovered. We would call in at a tea garden on the way for a Tiger or two and arrive back at Changi in time to go home; another day in paradise!

28th Dec 2008, 18:24
Brakedwell-nice to see some colour shots.

Petereb- The Meteor Flight moved from Seletar in 1963 I remember.
Here's a pic of Shackleton 2 WG530 'G' on psp near the large maintenance hangar with the Meteors in the background, late 1963.

David Taylor

29th Dec 2008, 08:41
:eek:Returning from a 3-week detatchment at Norfolk Naval base about 1968, we stopped to refuel in Lajes, which has miles of gleaming white sun baked concrete. The airman replenishing the oil left the hose running to attend another job, and yes, forgot about it! Soon, our scruffy old Shack was sitting in an expanding lake of oil contrasting well with the gleaming apron and immaculate US aircraft. The Yank reaction was almost a nuc attack on the UK, just shows how little sense of humour they have!

30th Dec 2008, 07:16
...scruffy old Shack was sitting in an expanding lake of oil...That's pretty standard for a Shack, even without an unattended oiling rig. ;)

Some things stick in your mind. Quote from a Form 1022 I once actioned at Changi...
"Beam Lookout reported Stbd Inner was leaking more oil than usual."

30th Dec 2008, 07:34
Reminds me of the Beverley transitting Kano on an operation to fly the Paras from UK to Nairobi in 1958. The rear boom toilet had been snagged after the seat broke under the weight of a large Para Sergeant. The ground crew cleared the entry with: Toilet now serviceable - ground tested and found comfortable.

30th Dec 2008, 11:23
Here's the only interior picture I got of a Shackleton, the inside MR1A 'D', with the radio op on the left and flight engineer on the right. It was taken along with the second picture that I posted, of MR1A 'N', in mid 1961.


David Taylor.

30th Dec 2008, 18:25
I took this pic at Lossiemouth on the very day that these aircraft were auction off.


31st Dec 2008, 06:10
It must have been bl**dy noisy sitting there.

31st Dec 2008, 07:05
It was bloody noisy sitting anywhere. :{

31st Dec 2008, 07:28
This was bad enough for me. Same wing different engines!


tristar 500
31st Dec 2008, 19:29
brakedwell, is that a noddy?????????? (A/W Argosy)

tristar 500

1st Jan 2009, 06:48
Yes, it is a Whistling Wheelbarrow, over East Africa, probably northern Kenya.

Tim McLelland
2nd Jan 2009, 01:02
Brilliant photos - sheer nostalgia!

6th Jan 2009, 01:22

After the recent retirement of WL 790 Mr McHenry in the US I posted the following on the RAF Forum. Thought it may interest you



Back in 1967 205 Sdn re-equiped with Mk2 Ph3s and the squadron strength was increased from 8 to 12 aircraft.This involved having 4 aircraft issued initially and then a process of returning each one and fetching a replacement.
I scored a trip back to St Mawgan to act as ground crew on the delivery flight for WL790.The crew was a Check and Training crew to show 205's crews the ropes and owing to the Arab / Israeli conflict we went via Africa. First stop was Malta where we had to stay an extra unplanned night because of a stuff up in our clearance to cross the Congo.Then we headed south over the Sahara following the road until it turned left and we went right to head for Kano in Nigeria.Just after that we hit a pretty horrendous sand storm which woke everyone up.I was sitting in the Sig's seat near the rear door and could not see the wingtips and the noise nearly drowned out the "growl". After landing at Kano a quick walk round A/F revealed that the new paint job was looking pretty ordinary and there was sand in most orifices.However next day we pushed on for Nairobi and on reaching the Congolese border were refused permission to cross along with all other aircraft trying to do the same. Our captain pleaded insufficient fuel for a return so they allowed us to cross within a certain time frame[ not sure how long] and we flew over a pretty scary looking River Congo with jungle and then the Entebbe Mountains when we all went on to oxygen which was something I had not expected to do in a Shack.Two days in Nairobi gave us time to do a 50 hrly and remove most of the sand and also an afternoon in the Nairobi National Park.Then it was on to Mauritius where we stayed in a RN holiday camp right on the beach beside a lagoon with a huge reef 200yds out.We were all hoping for a major snag to occur there but by now we were behind schedule and the captain wanted to push on so off we went for the long haul to Changi with a night at Gan.
After 9 days of being close and personal I formed something of an attachment for "Mr McHenry", as she became known later, so I was very disappointed that she has now been laid to rest.I had hoped that CAA would have allowed her to fly on as I'm sure there were a few hours left in her and the new spar was not an immediate requirement.


1958 Halton 1961 Cottesmore 1964 32M.U. 1965 Changi[205 sqdn] 1968 32 M.U. 1972 Demob

6th Jan 2009, 01:35
Another of my posts from the RAF Forum

I was going through a box of gash stuff up in my roof when I found the programme of events to celebrate 205's 50th anniversary back in 1966 and thought you chaps might be interested.I remember it was a good party that spread over a couple of days.I also found a photo of the whole squadron posed in front of 2 Shacks.

The guest of honour was Gp Capt G.E. Livock D.F.C. A.F.C. who was the first Squadron Commander in the Far East taking over on 8JAN1929. He was a nice old chap and a bit apprehensive of all the fuss. Earlier in the year, on a detachment to Labuan, I remember we flew over the Spratly Islands and claimed an unnamed triangular reef and named it Livock Reef in his honour.He had an illustrious career beginning in 1914 and seemed to have spent his whole time on flying boats and seaplanes.He was 2nd i/c to Gp Capt Cave-Brown-Cave on the Great Far East Flight in 1927/8 when 4 Southamptons flew from Felixstowe to Seletar and then on to Australia where they circumnavigated the continent and then flew back to Seletar, 23,00 miles altogether.

He was Reviewing Officer for the parade with Wg Cmdr J.V.E.P. Carter as Parade Commander,Adj was Flt Lt L. Bruce, Flt Cmdrs were S/Ls S.W.R.A. Key and G.J.Page,Standard Bearer was F/O M.G.Christy,Standard W/O was Master Signaller B.Collington and the escorts were Sgts H.R.Parkinson and K.J. MacBrayne in case you remember some of them.

We had a celebratory dinner at the Ocean Park Hotel in Katong which I think at that time was on the beach but is now probably a couple of miles inland if it is still there.

There are lots of ads for shops in Changi Village and these may jog some memories--- Khian Whatt Grocers, A.T. Gnanaprakasam Newsagent/Stationer, Tong Sing Bar[ who can forget it], Chew Cheong Jewellers, George Photo Store, Sincere Sundry Shop,Kiam Sin Tailor,Jong Sing Tailor, Sin May Silver, and one for Jackie's bowl at Katong.

There is also a list of all Sqd C/Os and a potted squadron history if anyone wants a look up.

I hope this is of some interest


16th Jun 2010, 20:28
Hi ozleckie,I lived on East Coast Road when at Changi '64-66 and Jackie's Bowl at the Ocean Park Hotel was a regular haunt of mine:ok:
You will remember this place in Changi village as well as Changi Bus.I'm typing this at the side of my camphor wood chest at the mo:)


The Changi bus ticket is upside down like their buses were in monsoon drains.

Richard Woods
17th Jun 2010, 12:31

Regarding WL790, flying Shackletons and the CAA...

In CAA literature there's a reference regarding military aircraft and how they won't extend the life beyond that originally specified by the manufacturer. I can't remember offhand which CAP it is in.

All the 8 sqn AEWS had around 14,000 hours on them which put them more or less at that limit. WL790 and WR963 were both around the 15,000 mark.

The obvious way to overcome this was to get it on the US register under the experimental category, and fly her out there while the paperwork over here was sorted. She was registered as N790WL and it was hoped to bring her back; but it wasn't to be.

Interestingly, the CAA never actually said "you can't fly it!" of the Shackleton, just that if it was to go on a permit to fly, a lot of lifed components had to be replaced. Spar booms, webs, all the attachment hardware, undercarraige bearers...

It's the same reason why we can't fly WR963 either.



Neptunus Rex
17th Jun 2010, 15:02
I can see the pictures by Wub and Brakedwell, but none of the others. What's wrong? As I flew both Shack and Neptune, I am very interested.

17th Jun 2010, 15:33
I think you may be out of luck Neptune. I'd guess the pics have been removed from the host site by the poster (unintentionally perhaps) or the time-out on the host site has expired. Either way - no pics.:sad:

This, to me, is a huge weakness of the internet. Pprune is a good example. There are some great photographs on this site which will slowly disappear over the years due to 'time out' above.

17th Jun 2010, 19:34
Sorry guys,

I started this thread but discovered that my photos were appearing in 'other peoples books' without even a credit, so after awhile I had started removing them...I had also supposed the thread was 'time expired' to be honest.

I have now re-instated them, but suggest if you are interested in 'early 60's Changi, Paya Lebar and Seletar' that you occasionally drop by my own website at www.focalplanes.co.uk (http://www.focalplanes.co.uk)
I've so many pics that I thought a regular 'blog' was the best way of showing them and I 'do video' now as well

David Taylor

Waddo Liney
1st Jul 2010, 06:44
The Changi bus ticket is upside down like their buses were in monsoon drains.
Between 1966 and '68, my wife and I lived in a hiring in Katong...it was a flat in Rose Garden. We used to take the Changi bus up to the beach at Bedok Junction at the weekends, because it was the cheapest and easiest way to get there. When the bus arrived at the stop, it was every man and woman for themselves. The Singaporeans of that time had no sense of forming an orderly queue. They all made for the entrance at the same time and pushed and shoved to elbow their way on board. Eventually, we learned to do the same. Then it was a bone-shaker ride, while trying to avoid the monstrous roaches roaming through the rubbish on the floor. Going to and from my section at Changi each day, I was able to take a pickup taxi, which was a lot better....you made new friends every mile!
We liked the Coq D'Or in Katong for a nice intimate dinner night out....air-flown Australian fillet steaks served sizzling on a hot cast iron platter. Have never tasted such good steaks since then.
I visited there some 20 years later, and yes Katong was a quite a way inland. Also, it has been drastically cleaned up (monsoon drains all covered over) and is now an elite high-end residential area. Bedok Junction is also inland...no more beach there either!

1st Jul 2010, 15:52

We usually do aircraft photos here....but just for a change, here's a Singapore bus, circa 1962. On the Tampines Road as I was just returned from Paya Lebar after walking through the kampong.http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Singapore%20bus-1962-S096A.jpg

1st Jul 2010, 21:19
Did you ever have an outdoor meal at Bedok Corner? Prawns as big as sardines etc.
Those were the days.And it will all be inland now I suppose.

What a great photo of Changi Bus,they all had Leyland engines and weren't as posh as the Isuzus of Singapore Traction which were air-conditioned.You had to watch for betelnut chewing Tamils clearing their throats and letting fly out of the open windows,heading straight for your open window..........................:eek:

David Billings
1st Jul 2010, 22:52
Aaahh, memories of R.A.F. Changi and Singapore 1959-1962 (with a six month detachment to Labuan thrown in).

What a fine thread ! Even a picture of a Changi Rattler... memories there of catching the Saturday night Changi flyer which left the Capitol terminus at midnight... flying through the then Changi Hills at a zillion miles an hour was somewhat terrifying with the transmission screaming away ! Changi Hills no longer there, all used for land reclamation before they started importing fill from Batam Island. Sections of Tampines Road are still there but most of the old road is gone. The old Telok Paku Road now a dead end and the new road skirts around onto reclaimed land all the way around the airport.

Back then, on occasional visits to 205, my Norton Dominator liked the taste of green fuel straight from a Shack's nipple, when visiting for modification work ! I was in the ASF at Changi and doing mods. for a year, working on all the transport types in the Far East fleet, then posted to Labuan which was a delightful place to be stuck in for six-months. Then back to Changi and Inspections and Rectifications on Hastings, Valettas and Shacks. We even had a Beverley there once which became a Christmas Tree until eventually all the spares arrived on a Queen Mary including three out of storage engines. The test flight was something else. The three "out of storage engines" all failed due to moisture in their bearings and the last of the three was shut down on short finals. She had to be towed in.

Then there were the Dan Air Avro Yorks doing the Australia run with rockets and rocket fuel. They were always heavily laden outbound and sometimes the tractor would follow and drag the tailwheel back onto the grass at the Tanah Merah Besar end of the runway as they always took off to the N-E and needed every bit of runway. We always stood outside to watch the take-off and all eyes were on the wing as it flexed upwards taking the load as it lifted off just clear of the Telok Paku Road and over the mangroves and out to sea. On their way back to the U.K. the F/E's used to sort through our scrap tyres and take a few back as it was either the Hastings or Shack tyres which were the same size. One York crumpled a wingtip against our hangar and of all things, Seletar had a Lancaster wingtip still in store and we fitted that !

I recall the Meteor TT Flight being there while I was in ASF before I left in '62. There was a Beaufighter Mk.10 there to do the job when I first arrived but I can't recall seeing it flying.

The old Changi Village is no more, they had a fire there and now the buildings are all brick and concrete. The only remaining buildings I recall being there in 59-62 were the AMWD labourers terrace houses at the back on the western side which are now fully refurbished and rented out to expats. The old RAF Changi Creek Transit Hotel is now beautifully restored as a Sports Club and the old stained wooden doors and interior still preserved. The old rain trees in the village are the same, just bigger. Remnants of the old camp are still there but gradually disappearing. I last went to Block 151 about ten years ago and the WWII wall paintings were still there but the three floors have been partitioned off. The RAF "Stores" building with the "saw-tooth" roof is still there next to the village.

Even a photo from the cockpit of an Argosy ! Nostalgia indeed....


2nd Jul 2010, 08:20
Most of us that served in Malaya and Singapore will probably always
hold fond memories of our time out there.

At one of the Shoreham annual air shows the RAF Association had a stall
in which could be obtained copies of their magazine entitled 'CHANGI-ITE'
or similar title. obviously of special interest for all RAF personnel who served there. Hopefully still in existance and presumably further
details could be obtained from the Shoreham based RAF Assn - for those interested.


2nd Jul 2010, 10:34
Here's three photos from 1964..............................

Colliers Quay (I think).


And two from our flat on East Coast Road.


2nd Jul 2010, 13:11
This site Memories of Singapore (http://www.singas.co.uk/index.html) might be of interest to posters on this thread

3rd Jul 2010, 07:40
Instead of continually starting threads here to post my 60's Changi photos, I started a website:
www.focalplanes.co.uk (http://www.focalplanes.co.uk)

Scroll back through the posts and 'previous pages'....you might even enjoy the 'modern video' that I've added as well.

Comments welcome


3rd Dec 2010, 17:19
Interested to see your piccie of a 205 Shack.I was a Sgt Air Signaller on 205 Sqdn from DEc 1957 until June 1960.I was a member of the crew that found the grave of the Engineer of B that crashed north of Labuan in Dec 1958.
I would be happy to help in your research in any way that I can.
Ken Topaz Flt.Lt RAF (Retd)

6th Dec 2010, 16:25

Not 249 I trust:hmm:

3rd Apr 2015, 10:42
Looking for Dad's squadron. Ray 'Titch' Evans. I have a picture of you all but don't know how to load on here.