View Full Version : 750 Sqdn RN Sea Princes

7th Feb 2012, 08:43
I was wondering if there are any 750 Squadron experts on here? I am trying to find when they operated Sea Princes in the 1960s or 1970s? What I have found on the internet only mentions Sea Princes but not any dates?

Many Thanks

7th Feb 2012, 12:43
Not sure if this helps but please see the history of two airframes from that period that mentions 750 sqdn.

Sea Prince WP308 History - Gatwick Aviation Museum (http://www.gatwick-aviation-museum.co.uk/prince/wp308.html)
Sea Prince WF118 History - Gatwick Aviation Museum (http://www.gatwick-aviation-museum.co.uk/prince/wf118.html)

7th Feb 2012, 14:32
Take a look at
Sea Prince "side numbers"? [Archive] - Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums (http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/archive/index.php?t-78488.html)

It gives a couple of Air Britain books as worthwhile reference points & mentions the following listing for 750 Squadron aircraft & dates
"750 Squadron Sea Princes: WP313/CU-568,WF118/569,WP309/570,WF131/571,WP308/572,WF133/573,WM739/574,WF122/575,WF125/576,WP314/577,WM735/578. These were the last in use by the Squadron,around 1979/80.
WP321 was used by the RN Sydenham Flight till the late seventies and WF120 and WM738 were broken up there in 1978".
There are further references within the forum thread

8th Feb 2012, 05:44
That is very helpful. Thank you both,
Best Regards

8th Feb 2012, 06:16
The 750 Sqn entry in the Air-Britain book 'The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm' lists the Sea Prince as being operated by that unit from Feb 1953 until May 1979.

Hope that helps.


8th Feb 2012, 08:42
Sea Princes flew from Hal Far in Malta 750 Squadron from at least 1960 to 1965.

8th Feb 2012, 13:15
750 was certainly flying Sea Princes and Sea Venoms in 1965-1967, at Lossiemouth, and Sea Princes alone 1970-1972. In 1972 they moved to Culdrose.

Fake Sealion
8th Feb 2012, 13:46
As a matter of interest - why did the MoD not sell of the Sea Princes when they retired
Were they out of hours or similar?

Flew in one at CU in Aug 78.

8th Feb 2012, 18:03
think they were sold off , didnt a load end up at staverton with a proposal to sell them on as fliers for some project which never came off ?

8th Feb 2012, 21:46
I noticed that in the op history of the two Sea Princes it was noted that they were resparred. I have noticed this seem to be a requirement for a fair number of British types such as the Valiant, Valletta and others just off the top of my head. The L-1011 required some spar web replacement, the Electra needed a lot of work on the wing planks and the B707 also. The Martin 202 had a flaw in its spar design and the DC-3 had its problems in the wing attach area. However I do not remember any American transport types that need spar replacements as a life extension requirement. Were British CAA regs just more restrictive of fatigue?

9th Feb 2012, 20:32
When I was an apprentice aircraft fitter at British Aircraft Corporation - Hurn in the early 1970s, one of the jobs I worked on was the dismantling of Sea Princes for re-spar work. The wings were removed and sent to Weybridge for the spars to be replaced. On return the aircraft were rebuilt.

A Captain I flew with a few years ago ferried 3 Sea Princes to Canada in about 1980. They went in formation as they had only 1 HF and 1 nav. system to get them across the pond.

On the subject of wing structures, there are basically two ways of building a wing.

1: With a single spar that has a safe life in terms of hours and landings determined at the design and test stage. This must be replaced after that time has been used or the aircraft withdrawn from use.

2: With 2 or more spars that form a Fail Safe (Damage Tolerant) structure that will be inspected at intervals such that any deterioration will be detected before the structure becomes unsafe.

A number of British aircraft used the first system and had spars replaced.
Those I know of and worked on include the Sea Prince and Viscount.

Later British aircraft like the BAC 1-11, VC-10, Trident, and BAe 146 used the multiple spar system.

The Beech King Air has a single spar and about 25 years ago there was a program of spar replacement on certain aircraft due I think to a production problem with a batch of spars. Where I worked at the time we replaced the spar on one side only of a King Air 100.

10th Feb 2012, 00:23
Many thanks for that explanation and apologize for the thread drift. In the late fifties at Lockheed Air service NY we stripped a lot of the plumbing and air conditioning ducting off the rear side of the L-1049 Super Connie and its military version's rear spars for a spar cap inspection. Exhaust gases were leaving corrosive deposits on them and the area had no access without extensive removal of stuff including flap drive shafts and gearboxes.
Found quite a few upper spar caps badly corroded and requiring replacement. Major job structural and tank sealing job. The the fun of putting all the parts back in but the biggest problem though was finding the replacement part numbers for the insulation blankets on the pressurized ducting leading in from the cabin compressors and refrigeration turbines in the wing. The blankets were all well rotted from years in a very hostile environment.

11th Feb 2012, 13:17
A few 50s Aeroplanes had to be resparred.Some were scrapped instead,like the Marathon,but the Sea Prince/ Pembroke were resparred;Balliols might have got a new life,but by then the Vampire 11 was out,although the FAA used them for ADDLs as they were good to show Studes the aspect of the deck.Piston Provost was another that had a low fatigue life in Training role,but carried on at Shawbury training Air Traffickers,and never got resparred.The Chippie suffered but had new Tie Rods and Wing Root Bearings fitted instead of having to be resparred.I think that was about it!The spars in question were not made from solid Duralumin,but had a Steel rod inside to give strength.Owing to high "G" in training manoevres this tended to erode the inside and create internal corrosion,which later on caused the problems.This was a cheaper method of assembly used by the second string manufactures of the time.I had occasion to be consulted on a Relife of a Piston Provost's fatigue life,hence finding out the other Aircraft that suffered the same problem from that time.

11th Feb 2012, 13:52
think they were sold off

There is a group that has been operating a Pembroke (RAF version of the Sea Prince) for several years, they also have a Sea Prince they have been restoring, I think they were based at Bournmouth but can't find a name or location online at the moment, they were regulars at the Abingdon air day for several years but haven't been for the last two due to restrictions put in place by Defence Estates.

12th Feb 2012, 10:54

The Sea Prince based at Bournemouth is WP321. There were plans to return it to airworthy condition and fly it with the Pembroke, but I'm not sure if that still the case. :hmm:


15th Feb 2012, 19:53
During 1969 and 70 the following Sea Princes were on 750 Squadron at Lossiemouth. They were all T1s except 609 which was a C2 held by Station Flight.

Airframe Number/ Squadron Side Number
------------------- ------------------------------
WF131 / 608
not known / 609 C 2 Station Flight
WF120 / 618
WP314 / 619
WF125 / 628
WF118 / 629 Dual control
WF128 / 638
WF133 / 639
not known / 648
WP308 / 649 Dual control
not known / 658
WP321 / 659
WM738 / not known
WP313 / not known

They came and went, and I suppose there were about eight or ten at any one time. When 750 moved from Lossie to Culdrose in the 70s, it appears the side numbers were changed from 600s to 500s.

I recollect that in 1969-70, certain airframes were locally reputed to be celebrating their 21st birthdays, though that seems to be a bit suspect by couple of years, from the dates quoted for first delivery to the RN. Perhaps they took a long time to build.

At a RIAT at Fairford in the 80s, we were wandering down the flight line and came across a Sea Prince exhibited by the Rural Naval Air Service (in conjunction with the Rural Flying Corps) from Bourn, Cambridge. I thought I remembered it as either 629 or 649, but that doesn't seem to match other evident records. They showed me around. I asked what had happened to the dual controls and they admitted removing the right hand set.

Around the same time, there was small ad in "Flight" offering a package of Maritime Patrol Aircraft with radar and stores dropping capability - It was half a dozen of our old Sea Princes. Perhaps that was the Staverton venture ?

The stores dropping capability would probably have included smoke floats/practice bombs from a small underwing bomb rack, and a G-Dropper - air-dropped liferaft and survival pack- (or whatever else, but definitely not bombs) in the "bomb bay." This was a coffin sized intrusion into the forward cabin floor. I don't think we ever used either stores facility or even knew how to open the "bomb door."

There's a good potted history on Wiki which says 750 was at St Merryn in 1952 and then in 1953 moved to Culdrose when it got the Sea Princes. Then to Halfar in 1959 and Lossie in 1965 back to Culdrose in 1972 when the Jetstreams arrived. Now its got Avenger IIs (or IIIs, depending on how precious you wish to be.)

The excellent Wolverhampton Aviation Group - Serials Resource Centre website at UK Serials (http://www.ukserials.com/) shows all the production serial numbers (WF, WM and WP) and a brief career and disposal (including 3 losses and several survivors) of each of the total of 48 Sea Princes built, which comprised 44 T1, 3 C1 and 1 C2. LFH

15th Feb 2012, 20:31
Here's your bird, Lordflasheart....

Air-Britain : G-BRFC (http://www.abpic.co.uk/search.php?q=G-BRFC&u=reg)

This one is a bit of a sad sight, slowly dying in Warwickshire;

WM735 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin_hartland/6622621183/)

15th Feb 2012, 21:11
Thanx Nopax

Top link - Pics # 4 and 6 - Now we know where the bomb-doors are.

Second link - what a sad sight. LFH

13th Sep 2012, 07:53
Sea Prince T1, WP321 now resides in a hangar in South Wales and I have volunteered to help restore her to airworthiness. Currently at the dismantling stage with engines and flying control surfaces removed for corrosion inspections.
Lots of work to do and would appreciate donations of Parts/Spares of any kind.

20th Sep 2012, 19:40
Good luck with the rebuild 1fin - will you keep us posted, or is there a website ? LFH

Lee Howard
21st Sep 2012, 06:56
Full airframe histories for all Sea Princes were published in "Fleet Air Arm Fixed-Wing Aircraft since 1946", Air-Britain, 2004. I think you'll find some Internet sites have quoted from this since.

You might also like to check out the new book: "On the Wings of a Gull", also from Air-Britain, which has Sea Prince histories, albeit slightly more abridged.

Alan Whitfield
28th Nov 2012, 17:39
I was on 750 at Hal Far in 1962
I have one picture of a Prince on the hardstanding at HF, scanned from an old Kodak colour slide. Quality is not great, but yours truly is leaning out of the cockpit. Side number is clearly visible, but not the airframe reg.
If you would like a copy, mail me at [email protected]

Alan Whitfield

Ex Bristow

29th Nov 2012, 23:02
If you would like a copy, mail me at [email protected] (seadog219%40gmail.com)

Only if you promise to autograph it nicely, Al. :)


5th May 2013, 18:46
Both Pembroke WV740 and Sea Prince WF321 are with Hunter Flying at St Athan. The Pembroke should be flying soon once its props come back from their 6 yearly service, hopefully in a month or so.

The Sea Prince will have to wait til Gannet XL500 is finished and airbourne though two servicable, (one low hours) Leonides engines are due in from Alabama later this year for WF321.

I am hoping to look at WF137 at Booker to see if this and possibly G-ALWH (now N206UP) could make a flyable short nosed Prince (as Shell, then Sperry and Decca used in the 50s). I have no idea whether the latter is up for sale as it is currently lying in a desert north of Los Angeles.

Does anyone know how difficult it is to replace the spar on these aeroplanes. Is it a complex piece to manufacture?

13th Sep 2015, 13:06
We hope to start restoring this airframe in the near future. Hopefully we might get her airworthy in a year, maybe 2

Gannet Driver
13th Sep 2015, 13:20
Just chanced on this thread. I flew Sea Princes with 750 at Lossie from August '68 to December '69.

Bob Humphries was CO.

Regret I have no photos but willing to add any info I can.


13th Sep 2015, 17:59
The late Harpy Cox was on 750 at Culdrose flying the Sea Prince. Does anyone know if he was at Lossie before then, please?

13th Sep 2015, 19:27
My first flight was in a Sea Prince for an air familiarisation trip at HMS Condor, Arbroath in the mid 1960's where I was a baby Artificer Apprentice. It must have lasted all of 15 minutes!
The air station boasted just one Sea Prince and one pilot - who's drove a very beautiful Bristol I recall.
I don't think anything else flew from Condor at that time, though a variety of RN jets made their final flights into the airfield for us apprentices to play with

A few years later in the 1970's at Culdrose as a baby pilot this time, I often had to fight for space in the circuit with 750 Sea Princes

13th Sep 2015, 21:33
The air station boasted just one Sea Prince and one pilot - who's drove a very beautiful Bristol I recall.
I don't think anything else flew from Condor at that time
Well apart from the Sedberghs and Cadets of 662 VGS.

though a variety of RN jets made their final flights into the airfield for us apprentices to play withYes, the hangars were indeed choc-a-bloc with assorted Hunters, Gannets, Seahawks, Scimitars, Whirlwinds and Wessexes.

Some nice photos of the GIAs, and the aforementioned Sea Prince, here from 1967:


14th Sep 2015, 06:11
Quite correct Dave.

I also had my first glider flight from Condor at about the same time as the 'cloth bomber' jolly.

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