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Fokkerwokker
12th May 2011, 14:00
Could someone point me to a link that might answer this question please?

A ballpark figure would be fine

Ta

FW

cazatou
12th May 2011, 14:29
According to the MOD Website:-

1962 - 148,000 Personnel

1968 - 120,000 Personnel

1976 - 90,000 Personnel

Stuff
12th May 2011, 14:35
At its peak post-1945 strength in 1952, total RAF manpower was over 270,000 of which
about one third were National Servicemen: in 1962, with barely a trickle of National Servicemen
remaining, it was 148,000; in 1968, when the first large scale changes were announced, it was
120,000; and in 1976, when the second major defence review had been completed and more cuts
made, the RAF was only 90,000 strong (in total less than the number of officers in the USAF).

Source: AP3003, page 239

It's the first result you get when you Google "RAF Manpower 1960".

Fokkerwokker
12th May 2011, 14:40
Used the wrong search words

That is really helpful thanks

FW

Grabbers
12th May 2011, 14:41
What words did you use!?!

Wholigan
12th May 2011, 15:01
It sticks in my memory that we were told that it was 135,000 when I joined in 1964.

Can't remember what I did yesterday, but I do seem to remember that. ;)

Finningley Boy
12th May 2011, 15:25
I joined inSilver Jubilee year, 1977, when I did I recall reading R.I.S.S. bumf about H.M. Forces being divided up as R.N. (Inc Royal Marines) 70,000, The Army 164,000 and the R.A.F. 87,000. 321,000 all told.:ok:

I remember also, about 1990, the established strengh had altered to 156,000 for the Army and 90,000 for the R.A.F. the Navy remained unchanged, but I think these figures are all give and take a couple of thousand here and there. The Army at one stage in the early 1980s was billed at around 168,000.

FB:)

Here is an almost complete ORBAT for the R.A.F. as of 1st April 1963, 45th Anniversary year;


APPENDIX II

The Royal Air Force order of Battle, April 1963;


Bomber Command - Headquarters: High Wycombe



No. 1 Group – Headquarters: Bawtry



Coningsby 9 Vulcan B2 Medium Strike


Coningsby 12 Vulcan B2 Medium Strike


Coningsby 35 Vulcan B2 Medium Strike


Finningley 18 Valiant B1 ECM


Finningley 230 OCU Vulcan B1/B2 Ops Conversion


Finningley BCDU Valiant B1/Vulcan B1/1A Role Development


Lindholme BCBS Hastings T5/Varsity T1 Bombing School Scampton 27 Vulcan B2 Blue Steel Strike


Scampton 83 Vulcan B2 Blue Steel Strike


Scampton 617 Vulcan B2 Blue Steel Strike


Waddington 44 Vulcan B1/B1A Medium Strike


Waddington 50 Vulcan B1/B1A Medium Strike


Waddington 101 Vulcan B1/B1A Medium Strike



No. 3 Group – Headquarters: Mildenhall



Bassingbourn 231 OCU Canberra B2/PR3/T4 Ops Conversion


Cottesmore 10 Victor B1 Medium Strike


Cottesmore 15 Victor B1A Medium Strike


Gaydon 232 OCU Valiant B1/Victor B1 Ops Conversion


Gaydon RRF Victor B1 Radar Recce


Honington 55 Victor B1A Medium Strike


Honington 57 Victor B1A Medium Strike


Honington 90 Valiant B1 ECM


Marham 49 Valiant B1 Medium Strike


Marham 148 Valiant B1 Medium Strike


Marham 207 Valiant B1 Medium Strike


Marham 214 Valiant BK1 IFR Tanker


Wittering 232 OCU Victor B2 Ops Conversion


Wittering 100 Victor B2 Blue Steel Strike


Wittering 139 Victor B2 Blue Steel Strike


Wyton 58 Canberra PR7 Photo Recce


Wyton 543 Valiant PR1 Strategic Recce



Fighter Command – Headquarters: Bentley Priory



No. 11 Group – Headquarters: Leconfield



Binbrook 64 Javelin FAW9 A.W. Interceptor


Binbrook AFDS Javelin/Hunter F6 A.D. Development


Leconfield 19 Lightning F2/Hunter F6 A.W. Interceptor


Leconfield 92 Lightning F2/Hunter F6 A.W. Interceptor


Leuchars 23 Javelin FAW9 A.W. Interceptor


Middleton St. George IRS Javelin T3 Ops Conversion


Middleton St. George LCS Lightning T4 Ops Conversion



SAM Wings/Sqns;



21 Wing



Breighton 112 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.


Carnaby 247 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.


Misson 94 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.


Woodhall Spa 222 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.


Woolfox Lodge 62 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.



148 SAM Servicing Wing: Church Fenton



No. 12 Group – Headquarters: Horsham St. Faith



Chivenor 229 OCU/145 Hunter F4 Ops Conversion


Chivenor 229 OCU/234 Hunter F4 Ops Conversion


Chivenor Hunter Flight IRS Hunter T7 Instrument Rating


Coltishall 74 Lightning F1 A.W. Interceptor


Wattisham 41 Javelin FAW8 A.W. Interceptor


Wattisham 56 Lightning F1A A.W. Interceptor


Wattisham 111 Lightning F1A A.W. Interceptor



SAM Wings/Sqns;



24 Wing



Marham 242 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.


Rattlesden 266 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.


Watton 263 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.


Warboys 257 Bloodhound 1 S.A.M.



Coastal Command – Headquarters: Northwood



No. 18 Group – Headquarters: Pitreavie Castle



Aldegrove 202 Hastings Met 1 Meteorological


Ballykelly JASWS


Ballykelly ASWDU Shackleton MR1/2 ASW


Ballykelly 203 Shackleton MR2 ASW


Ballykelly 204 Shackleton MR2C ASW


Kinloss MOTU Shackleton T4 Ops Conversion


Leconfield 228 Whirlwind HR10 SAR



No. 19 Group – Headquarters: Mountbatten



St. Mawgan 42 Shackleton MR2 ASW


St. Mawgan 201 Shackleton MR3 ASW


St. Mawgan 206 Shackleton MR3 ASW


St. Mawgan 220 Shackleton MR3 ASW


N.F. Gibraltar 224 Shackleton MR2 ASW



Transport Command – Headquarters: Upavon




Benson Queen’s Flight DC3 V.I.P. Transport


Colerne 24 Hastings C1 Medium Transport Colerne 36 Hastings C1 Medium Transport Lyneham 99 Britannia C1/2 Medium Transport Lyneham 216 Comet C2/4 Long Range Trsprt


Thorney Island 242 OCU Beverley C1 Ops Conversion



No. 38 Group – Headquarters: Odiham



Abingdon 1PTS


Abingdon ATD


Abingdon 47 Beverley C1 Heavy Transport


Abingdon 53 Beverley C1 Heavy Transport


Benson Argosy CU Argosy C1 Medium Transport Benson 114 Argosy C1 Medium Transport


Benson 215 Argosy C1 Medium Transport Benson 267 Argosy C1 Medium Transport Odiham 225 Whirlwind HAR10 Troop Assault


Odiham Transport & Comms


Odiham Twin Pioneer Cvsn Flt Twin Pioneer Ops Conversion


Waterbeach 1 Hunter FGA9 Close Air Support Waterbeach 54 Hunter FGA9 Close Air Support



Flying Training Command – Headquarters: Reading



White Waltham CCS Pembroke & Anson Comms Flight


Little Rissington CFS Gnat, Jet Provost & C’munk Flyng Trng


Bicester Oxford UAS Chipmunk T10 Scholarships


Filton Bristol UAS Chipmunk T10 Scholarships


Hamble South’ton UAS Chipmunk T10 Scholarships


Cranwell R.A.F. College Vampire T11 Cadet Training


Cranwell R.A.F. College Jet Provost T3/4 Cadet Training


Cranwell R.A.F. College Chipmunk T10 Cadet Training


Manby R.A.F. F.C. Meteor F8/T7 Tactics Training Manby R.A.F. F.C. Canberra T4 Tactics Training



No. 23 Group-Headquarters: Dishforth



Acklington 6 FTS Jet Provost T3/4 Basic Training


Dishforth GCF Anson, Meteor, Provost Comms Flight


Dishforth Leeds UAS Chipmunk T10 Scholarships


Leeming 3 FTS Jet Provost T3/T4 Basic Training


Linton-on-Ouse 1 FTS Jet Provost T3/T4 Basic Training


Church Fenton 7 FTS Jet Provost T3/T4 Basic Training


Church Fenton 7 FTS Vampire T11 Basic Training


Valley 4 FTS Folland Gnat T1 Advanced Training


Valley 4 FTS Vampire T11 Advanced Training


Oakington 5 FTS Varsity T1 Multi-Engine Trng


Stradishall 1 ANS Varsity T1 Navigation Training


Hullavington 2 ANS Varsity T1/Valetta T1 Navigation Training



No. 25 Group-Headquarters: White Waltham




Royal Air Force Germany - Headquarters: Rheindahlen



Bruggen 80 Canberra PR7 Photo Recce


Bruggen 213 Canberra B (I) 6 Tactical Strike


Bruggen 431 Maintenance Unit


Laarbruch 31 Canberra PR7 Photo Recce


Laarbruch 16 Canberra B (I) 8 Tactical Strike


Laarbruch 420 Maintenance Unit


Geilenkirchen 11 Javelin FAW9 A.D. Fighter


Geilenkirchen 5 Javelin FAW9 A.D. Fighter


Geilenkirchen 3 Canberra B (I) 8 Tactical Strike


Wildenrath 17 Canberra PR7 Photo Recce


Wildenrath 14 Canberra B (I) 8 Tactical Strike


Gutersloh 230 Whirlwind HAR10 Troop Transport


Gutersloh 2 Hunter FR10 Tactical Recce


Gutersloh 4 Hunter FR10 Tactical Recce



Near East Air Force - Headquarters: Akrotiri



Akrotiri 6 Canberra B16 Tactical Bomber


Akrotiri 13 Canberra PR9 High Alt Recce


Akrotiri 32 Canberra B15 Tactical Bomber


Akrotiri 73 Canberra B15 Tactical Bomber


Akrotiri 249 Canberra B16 Tactical Bomber


Nicosia 29 Javelin FAW9 A.W. Interceptor


El Adam 103 Sycamore HR14 S.A.R.


Malta


Luqa 38 Shackleton MR2 A.S.W.



Air Forces Middle East - Headquarters: Khormaksar



Khormaksar 8 Hunter FGA9 Close Air Support Khormaksar 43 Hunter FGA9 Close Air Support Khormaksar 208 Hunter FGA9 Close Air Support Khormaksar 78 Wessex HC2 Troop Transport Khormaksar 37 Shackleton MR2 A.S.W.


Khormaksar 84 Beverley C1 Heavy Transport


Muharraq 152 Pembroke C1 V.I.P. Comms


Muharraq 152 Twin Pioneer CC1/2 V.I.P. Comms



Far East Air Force – Headquarters: Changi (Singapore)



Changi 205 Shackleton MR2 A.S.W.


Changi Towed Target Flight



No. 224 Group – Headquarters: Seletar



Seletar 224 Comms Flight


Seletar 66 Belvedere HC1 Troop Transport Seletar 34 Beverley C1 Heavy Transport


Tengah 20 Hunter FGA9 Close Air Support


Tengah 45 Canberra B15 Tactical Bomber


Tengah 81 Canberra PR7 Photo Recce



Kai Tak 28 Hunter FGA9 Close Air Support Kai Tak 60 Javelin FAW9 A.W. Interceptor

Pontius Navigator
12th May 2011, 15:30
In 90-91 the new target was 57,000. Overnight the nav school throughput was halved. Only a year earlier the Air Sec's branch even was asking the question "what is the long term future of the navigator branch?"

We all thought they should have been addressing the question not asking the sharper end.

Party Animal
12th May 2011, 15:42
Did we (RAF) not creep above the 100,000 level at the back end of the 80's? Or was it a flat 90,000'ish from 76 to 90?

Finningley Boy
12th May 2011, 15:58
PA,

I think it was slight decline to about 86/87,000 or so by 1982 then a steady rise back to about 90,000 again. That rise, I believe was set to continue but for the collapse of the Berlin Wall. We were expecting to get another 40 or so Tonkas in addition to the lot we had by 89/90!:ok:

FB:)

Brian 48nav
12th May 2011, 16:28
Off the top of my head, without getting the books out, your list omits 511 Brits at DL, 48 Hastings Changi, 70 Hastings Cyprus, 210 Shacks B'kelly and 215 was at Changi not Benson.

48 reunion on Saturday at Lyneham!

Brian 48nav
12th May 2011, 16:31
Just noticed my other Sqn, 30 (albeit Hercs for me) omitted - Beverleys moved from Kenya to Bahrain in '64.

sisemen
12th May 2011, 16:38
I seem to remember that in the late 70s the strength was about 103,000 with an establishment slightly smaller than that. I was Office Commander at CIO Ilford at the time and there was a big, big push on to meet increased recruiting targets.

brakedwell
12th May 2011, 16:39
105 Argosies Khormaksar missing.

Finningley Boy
12th May 2011, 17:08
Brian and Brakedwell, I think there are a few other ommissions as well, glancing through, I noticed the ommission of 2 FTS, not deliberately, but I pasted the orbat in with the caviat that it is "almost complete". I hope to get the full list for this year and other more significant points in history, at a later date. Apologies to those who's unit is conspicuous by its absence from the line up. But thanks for the info chaps!:O

FB:)

PhilipG
12th May 2011, 17:11
Tangmere was open in 1964 as far as I recall and I remember planes being there?
According to Wiki it closed in 1970.

brakedwell
12th May 2011, 17:22
Tangmere was open in 1964 as far as I recall and I remember planes being there?
According to Wiki it closed in 1970.
242 OCU at Thorney Island used Tangmere as a dropping zone for Heavy Platforms etc in 1964. I seem to remember the RAF Russian Language School was also based there at there at that time.

Fareastdriver
12th May 2011, 18:30
When I arrived at Honington in 1962 90 Sqn was a tanker squadron just like 214. It was still a tanker squadron when it folded in 1966.

Lyneham Lad
12th May 2011, 18:47
A quick scan through that long, long list and omissions that caught my eye for Seletar are the single & twin Pioneers of 209 Sqn and the Sqn of Valetta's (52?). Not sure of the Sqn number but I do remember chopping them up in early 1966 when stationed on 390MU at Seletar (also home to the huge storage MU 389).

At that time there were also the Whistling Tits at Changi.

Brian 48nav
12th May 2011, 18:50
Jefford's (ex Canberra and Vulcan nav) book 'RAF Squadrons' has graphs showing number of squadrons in selected years and is a good source of info'. Mine is the 1st edition and as the title says it's about squadrons so does not have details of flights, FTSs etc. There is a second edition maybe that does.

Delve's book 'The Source Book Of The RAF' has a lot of detail of flts,groups etc.

Finningley Boy
12th May 2011, 18:56
When I arrived at Honington in 1962 90 Sqn was a tanker squadron just like 214. It was still a tanker squadron when it folded in 1966.


Typo!:)

FB:)

Finningley Boy
12th May 2011, 18:59
[QUOTE][
Tangmere was open in 1964 as far as I recall and I remember planes being there?
According to Wiki it closed in 1970.
/QUOTE]

Phil,

I belive it was Canberra B2s of 245 sqn at Tangmere at the time, but I admit the list needs going through again.

FB:)

Brian 48nav
12th May 2011, 20:01
Apologies! For some reason I read your Orbat as '65 not 63 so belay my remark about 215 Sqn. Jefford has 245 Canberras at Tangmere until 19Apr63 when it renumbered to 98,which moved to Watton on 1st Oct 63.

Fareastdriver
12th May 2011, 21:01
Around 1963 the boss telling my squadron, that had its fair share of Canadians, South Africans, Rhodesians, Kenyans and an Anglo Argentinian, that 30% of the active aircrrew in the RAF were 'Foreign, Dominion or Colonial'. It did not surprise us at all. Most stations had a handful of pilots whose names had lots of 'y's and 'z's.

alisoncc
12th May 2011, 21:23
Finningley 18 Valiant B1 ECM

Finningley 230 OCU Vulcan B1/B2 Ops Conversion

Finningley BCDU Valiant B1/Vulcan B1/1A Role Development

Never saw any Valiants at Finningley when I was there (arrived Aug 1963). Lots of nice Vulcans, expecially those of 230 OCU B Sqdn.

Pontius Navigator
12th May 2011, 22:29
Valiants at Finningley - Vickers Valiant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_Valiant)

Finningley re-opened in the spring of 1957, No 101 Squadron was re-formed in October that year to operate Vulcan bombers. A year later No 18 Squadron RAF with ECM Vickers Valiants was also established at Finningley. In 1961, No 101 Squadron RAF took its Vulcans to RAF Waddington changing places with the Vulcan training organisation, No 230 Operational Conversion Unit. It was two years from 101 Sqn leaving that in 1961, the Valiant having seen its day, No 18 Squadron was disbanded.

RAF Finningley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Finningley)

Looks like 1963 and therefore just before Alison went there.

Tankertrashnav
12th May 2011, 23:16
If we are talking about ORBAT (order of battle) surely we should include the RAF Regiment squadrons - 16, 37, 48 and 51 at Catterick, 2 at Colerne, 15 at Seletar, 63 at Tengah, and a couple whose numbers I can't remember in Cyprus.

I count myself so lucky that I came in just at the end of the period when we had an air force of that size (1964), when overseas postings didnt automatically mean you were going to be shot at - full credit to the folk in today's RAF doing such a good job with such limited resources :ok:


Sqn of Valetta's (52?). Not sure of the Sqn number but I do remember chopping them up in early 1966 when stationed on 390MU at Seletar (also home to the huge storage MU 389).




Apart from the couple which I had for fire practice at Seletar - I've got a photo of myself somewhere standing in the doorway of one with blazing Avgas all around waiting to be "rescued". I had great faith in the crash crew!

Finningley Boy
12th May 2011, 23:18
Never saw any Valiants at Finningley when I was there (arrived Aug 1963). Lots of nice Vulcans, expecially those of 230 OCU B Sqdn.

Alison,

18 sqn disbanded in July of that year, the listing I posted is based on the circumstances as of 1st April 1963.:ok:

FB:)

alisoncc
13th May 2011, 13:55
Good job too. Didn't want any of those nasty Valiants leading our well behaved Vulcans astray. And I don't want to hear any comments about 18 Sdn choosing to disband just because I had been posted there. :p

Neptunus Rex
13th May 2011, 14:19
The Orbat misses 120 Sqn, which from1959 until 2010 served at RAF Kinloss.

Incidentally, 120 was at Aldergrove from 1951 to 1959. Aldergrove Approach freq is 120.0! (At least it was last time I was there, but that was a long time ago.)

Pontius Navigator
13th May 2011, 14:25
NR, alas no more.

Tallsar
13th May 2011, 23:59
22 Sqn is missing too!!! Part
of 19 Gp.....having formed in 1955 as a SAR helo Sqn...as of this day...the worlds longest running such Sqn....

no mention of the vampire/ Hunter Sqn in the then Rhodesia either....one of the 60s outfits I think...

Finningley Boy
14th May 2011, 00:42
Finningley Boy has left the country, gone into hiding and can not be found, therefore is not available to take the flack over his posting of an incomplete ORBAT for 1st April 1963.:p

By the way Alison, he has advised me to pass on a correction or two, 18 Sqn actually disbanded on 31st April 1963. So not around the following day, as previously thought. Once again, apologies from FB to those whose units did not appear in their rightful place. 90 Sqn by the way, was a Tanker sqn, based at Honington. Once again, apologies for the imperfections!:ok:

Doncaster Sheffield Robin Hood Child!:)

Pontius Navigator
14th May 2011, 09:04
By the way Alison, he has advised me to pass on a correction or two, 18 Sqn actually disbanded on 31st April 1963. So trying to blame Alison for this boo boo.

Obviously passed your bed time :)

NutherA2
14th May 2011, 09:37
Kai Tak 60 Javelin FAW9 A.W. Interceptor

We were actually at Tengah.

Finningley Boy
14th May 2011, 11:22
Heaven forefend Pontius old Plum, indeed my further investigation on the matter further gives credibility to Alsion's claim that there were no Valiants at Finningley in August 1963!

Nuther A2, yes indeed 60 were based at Tengah as you rightly point out but the info aI got for the specific day/month is that they were at Kai Tak at the time. On detatchment or a short tour perhaps? Squadrons did move about far more frequently from time to time back then I understand!?:confused:

FB:)

sharpend
14th May 2011, 15:18
I remember driving back from a course at Cranwell in about 2000 and my chum & I decided to do a modern quivalent of I Spy, except we counted operational RAF staions closed since we both joined. We counted 50. I wrote the following in my book about an Air Force that no longer exists, except in the memories of old gits like me:

However, for me the fun seems to have mainly evaporated. We have a job to do and a serious one at that. Forty years ago our Air Force was very much the archetypal flying club and we enjoyed enormous Espirt de Corps. This was definitely true of my Near East Air Force Squadron. Rules were indeed few and far between, we were not very professional, medals were non existent and operations were something we only practised for. Of course we were happy despite a distinct lack of facilities and amenities. There was no such thing as personal computers, microwave ovens, Internet, e-mails, digital cameras, mobile phones, DVDs, satellite TV, VCRs, PDAs, station exercises, MOTs, breathalysers or drink/drive regulations. GPS or inertial navigation systems were fitted only to Sputniks. Hence navigators were a necessary evil (only joking).

Pontius Navigator
14th May 2011, 15:33
and the front gate was open without guards. There was a separate gate for married quarters and the officers' mess on many stations. Registering your car was something you were supposed to do but often didn't. You could drink and drive. You could fly after midnight. Night fighters didn't. You could give lifts to airmen in uniform. Your bar bill had limits. You could not afford to drink off base (to excess). What happened on overseas jollies (I mean detachments) stayed private.

Tallsar
14th May 2011, 23:59
Fear not FB....the EU Court of HR has yet to rule on whether your banishment to the Caves is legal...but thanks anyway for the effort....the main point was well made..as were the additions...so many places and so many squadrons slipped forever into history.
That said let us not forget that some f it was inevitable....Empire vanished and capability so improved....1 Typhoon or Predator can do in one sortie with much assurance what several squadrons might have failed to achieve on one mission not so long ago...so numbers are not always the issue....and when I was just a little younger, we could never foresee the end of RAFG....time moves on and soon the Rotuanda will have no space left for all those Standards!

NutherA2
15th May 2011, 10:43
Finningley Boy

60 were based at Tengah as you rightly point out but the info aI got for the specific day/month is that they were at Kai Tak at the time. On detachment or a short tour perhaps? My tour on 60 lasted from November 1963 until March 1966, there were certainly no detachments to Kai Tak during this period; we spent a fair amount of time in Borneo, but went no further east than that.

I know that when the “communist inspired “riots took place in Hong Kong in June 1967 four of 60s Javelins were detached to Kai Tak for a short period (9 days?) and there were a few similar visits soon after. The flight to Hong Kong, however, was only made possible by using the Mark 9R with its underwing tanks, staging by way of the Phillipines. In 1963 this would not have been possible; we didn’t get our first 9R until the beginning of 1964. I think the detail quoted in the Orbat has to be in error, in April 1963 60 Squadron simply didn’t have any aircraft with long enough legs to get from Tengah to Kai Tak.

I hesitate to query the accuracy of the 1 Apr 63 Orbat,if there is a better answer to the contradiction anywhere I would be very interested to see it.

Brian 48nav
15th May 2011, 16:48
In Sept 68 3 of our Hercs accompanied 20 Sqn Hunters from Tengah to Kai Tak via Labuan and Clark in the Phillipines. Each leg was roughly the same length. Not wishing to challenge your memory but I wonder whether 60 or 64 would have used the same route if they had deployed to HK?

Pontius Navigator
15th May 2011, 16:49
Nutter, around that time I recall the Hunters at Kai Tak flying to Singapore. They did a 1050 mile leg to Labuan and thence to Singapore. A Canberra from 45 or 81 acted as shepherd.

PS, My post crossed with Brian's. Just checked the distance and found the KaiTak-Lab route at a shade over 1000nm so the only issue with the flat iron would have been diversions and island holding fuel.

The Clark route would have been considerably safer but there must have been political reasons for the direct flight.

Gerontocrat
15th May 2011, 17:10
When did Comets come into service? I seem to recall, as a child, my family being offered an indulgence flight back to the UK from Luqa in a Comet in 1963 - unless that was parents playing a 'mind game'! I also seem to recall the white-painted Vulcans still roaring overhead our school well into the 60s.

BEagle
15th May 2011, 17:25
Comet C. 2: 1956 - 1967
Comet C. 4: 1962 - 1975

Pontius Navigator
15th May 2011, 17:37
Gerontocat, I believe the white Vulcans would have disappeared by the end of 1964 with the possible exception of the Mk 1s at the OCU which were by then non-operational. Alison may recall that if she picks this up.

I recall one day in mid-64 returning to Coningsby in an Anson in the usual summer clag and finding the airfield quite easily as there were a number of white triangles around. Later that day, returning on a second trip, I had great difficulty finding the place as the white ones had all flown.

NutherA2
15th May 2011, 20:51
I wonder whether 60 or 64 would have used the same route if they had deployed to HK? Yes, Brian, the 60 Sqn Javelins used the Tengah - Labuan - Clark route to get to Kai Tak in 1967/8. This was only possible, though, in the Mark 9R with 2 x 230 gallon underwing tanks in addition to the standard 2 x 250 gallon ventrals. I am absolutely certain that none of our aircraft had detached to Kai Tak before my return to the UK in 1966. I am also pretty sure that 64 never detached to Hong Kong, they had disbanded before the 60 Sqn visits.

Without the wing tanks we had to stage through Kuching to get to Labuan for our "confrontation" border patrols; Clark was way out of our range capabilities. My logbook shows that my first flight direct from Tengah to Labuan was on 10 April 1964, IIRC we hadn't any 9Rs until shortly before that date.

With the drop tanks fitted the aircraft was speed (350KIAS?) and G limited but it did at least fly a bit longer & further.

Finningley Boy
16th May 2011, 00:30
Nuther, something obviously convinced me that the Javelins of 60 squadron were, under whatever reasoning, at Kai Tak on 1st April 1963, like everything else I'm quite prepared to be corrected by those who were actually there at the time. Indeed, my kneejerk response was to record that they were at Tengah. But, in the words of Laurence Naismith, in the film Jason of the Argonauts, something made me put them there instead?!

Best Regards,

FB:)

PS, I'll make all corrections by the time it goes into print, should that be the case!:ok:

rvusa
16th May 2011, 05:59
FB
I think you missed 2FTS Syerston, JP 3/4. Also, St Mawgan, 220 Sqn had been renumbered as 201 since about 1958. Open to correction, of course!
D

Gerontocrat
16th May 2011, 07:33
Pontius, thank you. We left Malta in July 64, and the island gained independence in September - so that would fit in with my memories of the Vulcans overhead the school and I suppose the withdrawal of V-force would have gone hand-in-hand with the declaration of independence.

Gerontocrat
16th May 2011, 07:34
Beagle, thank you. I didn't imagine it then!

sisemen
16th May 2011, 07:51
Finningley was the home to 18 Sqn with Valiants in the ECM role until they disbanded on 31 Mar 63. The Valiant soldiered on for a short while with other units until they were binned because of wing spar fatigure

However, in early 1965, the Wilson government with Denis Healey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Healey) as Secretary of State for Defence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary_of_State_for_Defence) decided that the expense of the repairs could not be justified and the fleet was permanently grounded as of 26 January 1965. The QRA alert that had been in place for SACEUR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SACEUR) was maintained until the final grounding and was then allowed to lapse.[22] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_Valiant#cite_note-24)
On 9 December 1964, the last Valiant tanker sortie involved refuelling Lightning aircraft over the North Sea. On the same day, the last Valiant bomber sortie was carried out, using XD818

Finningley also had 2 white B1 Vulcans when I was posted there in April 65 XA 900 and 901?? and stayed operational for about a year after that.

I think that one of them was flown to Scampton where it was broken up in about 69 or 70. I was posted to Scampton in 68 and can remember thinking why on earth aren't they preserving it.

Pontius Navigator
16th May 2011, 08:30
Gerontocat, your white Vulcans in Malta was something else. Every year one squadron would detach to Malta for two months on an Exercise called SUNSPOT, aptly named.

They had their own purpose built dispersal. Unlike the UK where the aircraft were dispersed around the airfield. In Malta lack of space dictated they used just one flight line.

They deployed with operational targetting material and were self-sufficient for the whole time. I believe the Valiants used to hold this task and were based there as part of Musketeer and later for Kuwait.

On Google Earth you can see a Herc parked there. The next disperal with hangars is new. To the north east of that were 13/39. I believe the Shacks were parked on what is now the end of the main runway which used to be the short runway. Finally the Lightnings would be parked on the northern disperal alongside the runway. Going southeast down what is now the main runway the first hardstanding was the civil terminal. The extension and new terminal are more recent and post-independence.

sharpend
16th May 2011, 09:36
On the same subject of Comets to/from Malta, I was posted to RAF Akrotiri in the summer of 67. Being a steely eyed attack pilot I obviously was ace at navigation. I calculated that my means of transport, a Britannia of 99 Sqn, would take about 4 hrs to Akrotiri.

After 5 hrs I began to wonder. Finally, after I think 7.5 hrs, we reached Akrotiri. Later, to my amazment, I discovered that Cyprus was just off the Lebanon and not next to Sicily.

Just as well I was looked after by navigators for the next few years! :p

Pontius Navigator
16th May 2011, 10:03
disbanded on 31 Mar 63. The Valiant soldiered on for a short while with other units until they were binned because of wing spar fatigure. I would not consider a further 18 months as tanker and TBF as soldiering on for a short while. AFAIK there was no planned date in the near term for their disposal. We did the tanker receiver course in July 1964 with every expectation of working up for tanking to the Far East.

Finningley also had 2 white B1 Vulcans when I was posted there in April 65 XA 900 and 901?? and stayed operational for about a year after that.

BCDU probably.

There were some Valiants not issued to Bomber Command and these had particularly low hours. They were on the books of the RRE. One, IIRC, had less than 100 hours and the other around 127. It was hoped that these could be kept operating and fatigue checks were carried out which gave them a clean bill of health until 'one last rivet' was removed to check and there was the dreaded fatigue cracks. The spars suffered fatigue from the moment they were cast never having even flown. Their alloy composition became crystaline.

Gerontocrat
16th May 2011, 10:25
"Going southeast down what is now the main runway the first hardstanding was the civil terminal. The extension and new terminal are more recent and post-independence."

The runway extension to the new airport was the result of joining up the old Safi strip to the main runway at Luqa and was done certainly post-1976 and, I believe, after the final pull-out of HMF from the Island.

ian16th
16th May 2011, 11:36
PN,

Yes indeed the Valiant squadrons filled the Sunspot role before the Vulcan.
Though they were for a period of 6 weeks not 2 months.
I did a Sunspot in Sept/Oct 1959 with 214 Sqdn. We had converted to Tankers and were carrying out the proving trials. Someone had forgotten to take us off the roster! When it was pointed out to Command/Group that we had bomb bays full of HDU, we were told that we had to go anyway as it was too late to ready a different squadron.
It was during that Sunspot that we lost XD869. Never did a detachment have such a 'mood swing'. The rest of the trip was really miserable. :sad:
See: http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/358970-valiant-xd869-crash-marham-1959-a.html

As for Valiant's surviving the scrapping of 1965. One of 214's a/c, XD816, spent a lot of time at Boscome Down being the 1st a/c to be fitted with an HDU. as a result it spent a lot of time in the hanger and had very low flying hours. This a/c took part in the fly past at the closing of Bomber Command.

brakedwell
16th May 2011, 12:14
RAF AT to/from the Med 1967
On the same subject of Comets to/from Malta, I was posted to RAF Akrotiri in the summer of 67. Being a steely eyed attack pilot I obviously was ace at navigation. I calculated that my means of transport, a Britannia of 99 Sqn, would take about 4 hrs to Akrotiri.

After 5 hrs I began to wonder. Finally, after I think 7.5 hrs, we reached Akrotiri. Later, to my amazment, I discovered that Cyprus was just off the Lebanon and not next to Sicily.

sharpend

I would have broken the LYN - AKR 5 hour barrier in a Britannia had it not been for a Lightening blocking the Akrotiri runway due to blown tyres. Having enjoyed a massive tailwind all the way we had to hold for 45 minutes while they removed the Lightening.

Valiants in Malta

This was taken in April 1958.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c32/sedgwickjames/ValiantLuqa.jpg

sisemen
16th May 2011, 15:31
Definitely not BCDU Pontious. I was on that unit and the only aircraft that we had was XA 907 a B1A. I think they were on 230 OCU strength.

Pontius Navigator
16th May 2011, 17:24
Siseman, OK, I wonder why as 230 was a Vulcan conversion. Pre-Gaydon?

sharpend
16th May 2011, 20:19
Was not Luqa joined to Halfar? I operated from Halfar in the late 60s. I thought Safi was further away

Fareastdriver
16th May 2011, 20:28
On 9 December 1964, the last Valiant tanker sortie involved refuelling Lightning aircraft over the North Sea

That was an entertaining trip. We were flying out of Marham because Honington runway was being face lifted. The Lightning was plugged in nicely when the drogue unscrewed and came off. The valves were on the drogue so the Lightning's engines got a big dose of Avtur out of an open hose. He went down and it was some thousands of feet before he got both his engines back.

Apart from the hose thrashing around the drum we were undamaged but the poor Lightning still had our drogue on his port wing. He, apparently, had considerable difficulty in landing it back at Leconfield.

On touchdown at Marham I noticed a Valiant at the holding point with a Standard Vanguard on the taxiway blocking it. I believe that this was a Marham senior officer preventing it from taking off. Shortly afterwards a Marham bomber landed and that was it.

Pontius Navigator
16th May 2011, 20:29
sharpend, no, Safi was an MU and accessible by road from Luqa. Halfar was the naval station. You can still see it on Google.

BEagle
16th May 2011, 21:37
Blunty, me old, Safi airstrip lay between Luqa and Hal Far aerodromes. It was very close to Luqa and the two were eventually combined to form Luqa International Airport. Safi lies at the south-eastern end of the 'new' main runway at Luqa.

Hal Far is indeed still identifiable as an ex-aerodrome; however, one RW has now gone and the other is used for drag racing.

I only visited Malta once - in August 1978 for 2 weeks on EX. SOLAR FLARE and Mintoff didn't make us very welcome. But there was enough of the old place still clearly ex-military to make us think what a great posting it must have been 20 years earlier! Also the 'gut' still existed and we quaffed quite frequently in the City Gem, Sliema. Some slob out time in the sun at Robb Lido or Kalafarana was also enjoyed.

Pontius Navigator
16th May 2011, 21:43
BEagle we were there more recently and it was surprising just how much of the Britmil infrastructure was untouched. Bighi hospital stood proud, its massive doors open but otherwise deserted. The barracks at Tigne were only just being taken over by the usual immigrants from the sandy places. out of town many army camps remained, rusty barbed wire but otherwise still awaiting our return.

sisemen
17th May 2011, 04:45
Siseman, OK, I wonder why as 230 was a Vulcan conversion. Pre-Gaydon?


Pontius - I was talking about white Vulcan B1's not Valiants

brakedwell
17th May 2011, 07:46
And there was Ta Kali, in the middle of the island with a runway aligned with Luqa's RW13. I remember a 216 Comet 2 landing at (I think it was unused, but an MU at the time) Ta Kali by mistake in 1957/8 when making a straight in approach to Luqa's RW13 from the NW. The captain, who shall remain anonymous, immediately realised his mistake, back tracked the runway and took off again - still with the Duke of Edinburgh on board! Ta Kali is still visible on Google Earth.

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c32/sedgwickjames/aviation/Screenshot2011-05-17at074015.png

Luqa April 1958

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c32/sedgwickjames/aviation/Luqa.jpg