View Full Version : UCB is no more! The UK - Cyprus Beverley is Replaced

17th Mar 2015, 09:07
Atlas Delivers First Operational Payload (http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/archive/atlas-delivers-first-operational-payload-05032015)

This item made me wonder, does anyone else but me still remember the weekly UCB?

Friday: Abingdon-Istres/Orange-Luqa
Saturday: Luqa-Cyprus
Sunday: Cyprus-Luqa
Monday: Luqa-Istres/Orange-Abingdon

This timetable was of course dependent upon the cooperation of 4 Bristol Centaurus behaving themselves.

barry lloyd
17th Mar 2015, 09:26
There are millions of us out here who have absolutely no idea what UCB stands for. Could you please enlighten us?

17th Mar 2015, 09:30
Barry, is that not clear in the title? UK Cyprus Beverly.

barry lloyd
17th Mar 2015, 09:42
Well not me at this time of the morning. Not having served in the military, I had forgotten about their propensity for abbreviating everything :O

running dog
17th Mar 2015, 10:57
I never did get to go on the UCB but I do have many happy memories of flying in the Bev out of Abingdon as a scrawny space cadet (Air Training Corp).

Adventures included a low level navex around the south of England and moving from the passenger area to the flight deck with the clamshells removed! The world really did look close.

I'm sure the Atlas is a lovely aircraft but I do miss the Bev!!

17th Mar 2015, 11:55
As photographed by me when stationed at Abingdon in 1959:



17th Mar 2015, 12:06

As photographed by me when stationed at Abingdon in 1956.Were you there when the Bev crashed with the Police Dogs on board?

There was more fuss in the press about the dogs being killed than about the poor humans.

In Sept 57, I was on a UCB to Istres! It had on board the 1st consignment of dogs for Cyprus, since the crash.

I was on the manifest as 'Supernumerary Crew', I asked a guy in Movements what this meant, to be given the warming reply, 'Oh it will be because the pilot isn't qualified to carry passengers'!:ugh:

I dunno if this was true or if I was being wound up.

On arrival at Istres I soon learnt the the UCB was just about he only constant in our lives. The rest of the time was any sort of a/c at any time.

The best posting in the RAF :ok:

17th Mar 2015, 16:19

I had a "Senior Moment". I was at Abingdon in 1959 not 1956 and was in the Far East when the Beverley crashed in 1957 and have corrected my post accordingly. There is however, a quite interesting site that covered the crash and its aftermath in some detail here:

Cornish Jack
21st Mar 2015, 18:26
does anyone else but me still remember the weekly UCB?
Yes ... rather oddly, I never remembered it as a 'schedule'. Done that route a few times - with some 'painful head' moments after an Orange night stop!!:{
Re. Sup Crew - yes it was a dodge - For proper pax carriage the crew had to be C cat or better but Sup Crew covered a multitude of uses. Perhaps, interestingly, we all passed out of 242 OCU at Dishforth with D cats. I duly arrived on 30 just as yet another ME crisis blew up and it was 'all hands to the pumps' (again). My first trip was with 'live freight' - as Dad Owen said, "Never mind the Cat just get on with it!"

22nd Mar 2015, 19:53
In the latter years of the Bev's life the UK - Cyprus trip became 5 days as we obviously needed a day off to recuperate once we got to Cyprus. Also we frequently routed Luqa - Benina/El Adem - Akrotiri/Nicosia.

We did once get a Bev out to Akrotiri in about 18 hours. Mid afternoon at Abingdon, sudden panic, Crew A and B given 1 hour to go home and get their kit. Crew C did the flight planning for Abingdon to Luqa. Crew A came back, got airborne for Luqa. Crew B got into an Andover and were flown to Lyneham where a Comet was waiting to fly them to Luqa, overtaking the Bev (OBVIOUSLY). Crew B did their flight planning in the back of the Comet and got some sleep. Crew A arrives Luqa, aircraft refueled, Crew A get in the back and go to sleep while crew B fly the aircraft to Akrotiri. 18 hours from the shout and one aircraft and one crew rested and ready to go in Akrotiri. Shows what could happen when the chips were down.

Mind you, a couple of weeks later on the return to UK we lost 2 engines with a load of indulgence pax onboard and spent 5 days in Paris.

23rd Mar 2015, 12:22
'painful head' moments after an Orange night stop!!:{You weren't supposed to night stop at Orange! We had no accommodation.
It was a problem at Istres, where we had limited space for pax, aircrew we bussed to a hotel in Salon-en-Provence. At Orange we had no on base accommodation for visitors, we used the Hotel de la Gare. Which was probably where you stayed.

Our biggest problem was a Beverley full of pongo's, going u/s and having to find beds for them all.

28th Mar 2015, 19:32
Our biggest problem was a Beverley full of pongo's, going u/s and having to find beds for them all.I remember going u/s at Istres with a Bev load of KOSBIs Kings Own Scottish Borderers. The tail de-icers were u/s and there was severe icing forecast that night over the Massif Centrale. We went downtown to a hotel (guest house) and the troops were put up on base where they proceeded to wreck both the equivalent of the NAAFI and their accomodation. Next morning we weren't going anywhere as the aircraft captain and the sole KOSBI officer had a hats on interview with the base commander. We were only released to fly home after the Embassy in Paris agreed that all damages would be paid for by HMG.

India Four Two
28th Mar 2015, 21:52
As photographed by me when stationed at Abingdon in 1959:Warmtoast,

Please tell me what the van with the aerials is. I assume it's not a television detector van or something from the set of Dr. Who ;)

30th Mar 2015, 20:47
India Four Two

Please tell me what the van with the aerials isMobile RV-105 (Radio Van 105) VHF/DF vehicle. As I mentioned ealier in another thread:
"In the early summer of 1959 I was a VHF/DF Operator based at RAF Abingdon in charge of a mobile [RV-105] VHF/DF station that provided cross bearings to Air Traffic Control at RAF Benson about 15-miles to the east. Aircraft on final approach to Benson called for a bearing and the bearing my operators took in degrees true from Abingdon was passed to Benson ATC by an always open landline (squawk box). Benson then plotted the bearing we gave allowing them to calculate with a fair degree of accuracy the distance the aircraft was from touchdown.
When things were quiet we VHF/DF operators at Abingdon chatted to the ATC bods at Benson and as a result were quite friendly, so much so that we occasionally went out for drinks together."

I operated in similar RV-105s at Bovingdon 1956 (providing cross bearings the North Weald) and later at Gan in 1958.
Photos of the Gan one below being improved by me with a three-inch paint brush - very time consuming ISTR!




...and as we're talking Beverleys herewith February 1958 photos of a 47 Sqn Beverley arriving at Gan with the advance party of Pakistani workers who were to start constructing the new runway. Note the Abingdon coat of arms and painted GSM annotated "Malaya" on the nose.




India Four Two
30th Mar 2015, 21:17
Thanks. Was your DF receiver crystal controlled or did you have to tune it?

What is the gantry over the cab and bonnet?

Nice paint job there. Preparing for your civvy street profession? ;)

30th Mar 2015, 23:01
India Four Two

Was your DF receiver crystal controlled or did you have to tune it?
Crystal controlled R1392 receivers

What is the gantry over the cab and bonnet?
The antenna could be swung down into the cage thus offering protection to the aerial elements when the vehicle was on the road.

The Gan RV-105 was also fitted with a TR 1143 4-channel VHF transmitter/receiver allowing the DF operator to communicate directly with the aircraft.

As to painting, not a profession but done under sufferance when my other half decrees something needs touching up, but the skills learnt in the RAF have never been forgotten.

31st Mar 2015, 11:37
Oh the injustice of it, you on a beautiful tropical island while I had to slum it in the South of France :ok:

Mind you I got to spend 3 weeks on Gan in 1960.

India Four Two
1st Apr 2015, 03:51
Since this is an active Beverley thread, excuse me if I drift a little bit further.

One of my QFIs was an ex-Beverley Captain, recently returned from Changi. Apart from regaling us with stories of operations during the "confrontation", he mentioned that they had special "Beverley-sized" chocks which they carried with them, because regular chocks just wouldn't do.

Does anyone have a picture of these?

Having written all that, I think I see some in one of Warmtoast's Gan pictures!

1st Apr 2015, 06:56
The story behind the GSM ribbon painted on the nose of XB263/K in Warmtoast's photo at Gan. It was for the first operational para drop by a Beverley and involved the boys from Hereford.

Article starts on Page 8 of the attached link.


1st Apr 2015, 19:02
lovely photos.

Many thanks.

1st Apr 2015, 21:02

Thanks for the link to that fascinating story about Beverley XB263. I see from my notes that my photo was taken on 14th February 1958 and the pilot was F/Lt Peter Dudley.
ISTR it collected the Pakistani workers from Karachi and flew via Katunayke (Negombo) in Sri Lanka to Gan.

2nd Apr 2015, 07:10
Does anyone know if the Beverley at the Army base near Hull is still there?

2nd Apr 2015, 15:48
The Beverley is now at Fort Paull in Yorkshire

2nd Apr 2015, 17:39
Great. Might go via there on Easter Sunday.

3rd Apr 2015, 08:42
How to put a Bev back together!

3rd Apr 2015, 20:25
Well, did the visit. She's out in the open and deteriorating rapidly! Hopefully someone with deep pockets can rescue her and put her in a nice weatherproof building before she rots out and collapses her tail on some chav kid from the adjacent caravan "fun" park.

23rd Dec 2016, 17:39
lauriebe (http://www.pprune.org/members/189855-lauriebe) ref post 129 Paddy Flynn who was a member of our association passed away this year

24th Dec 2016, 01:52
I believe that in the '60s (1960s that is!), the route was known as the MEDAIR when operated by civvy airlines such as BRITISH EAGLE INT'L AIRLINES with their Viscounts in 'trooper config', i.e. 'lets go backwards'!
Is 'the old grey matter' still compus mentis?

24th Dec 2016, 09:17
In the sixties and seventies RAF Britannias operated an East Med and a West Med. The West Med was Lyneham/Brize - Gibraltar. The East Med included Luqa, Benina (for a short time) and on to Akrotiri or direct UK - Akrotiri. Can't remember if UK - Luqa only was also a called a West Med.

24th Dec 2016, 18:25
At the risk of thread drift, the Beverley is such an ungainly looking aircraft, but what was it like to fly?
I remember, as a small boy, being taken to Birmingham Elmdon airport where some sort of static display was taking place. Must have been early 60's. There were a number of military types and think I remember a Canberra but definitely remember a Beverley which you could walk inside. i was amazed that such a huge aircraft could ever fly!

Cornish Jack
25th Dec 2016, 22:03
Wookey - for what appeared to be a bit ungainly, if flown for its intended role - heavy lift, forward area, unprepared strips, it did it well. As usual, it spent a lot of time on anything but!! We operated for 6 weeks out of El Adem into Tmimi (an area of desert sand where the 'runway' was moved sideways after each landing to find a slightly better surface). Very few tech problems and we were 'bulking out' or at max weight on every trip. In flight oil pumping in the 'dog kennel' to allow long-ish haul trips was a PITA. The intended Mk II, with Proteus (or similar) turbos and pressurisation would have been a 'horse of a very different colour'!!

26th Dec 2016, 07:17
It was rurmoured that the MkII would even have a retractable undercart!

26th Dec 2016, 07:32
You mean this one?



Chris Scott
26th Dec 2016, 22:03
They say that the chief designer of Blackburn's was in the Netherlands one sunny day and, while lying on his back in a field, saw a Dutch barn blow away in a gale.

Come to think of it, can anyone name an elegant-looking Blackburn type?

26th Dec 2016, 23:37
Come to think of it, can anyone name an elegant-looking Blackburn type?


26th Dec 2016, 23:57
Jackw106, I'm sorry to hear that.

Blue skies Paddy.

India Four Two
27th Dec 2016, 05:43

While I like the Buccaneer, I wouldn't classify it as elegant. Menacing is a better adjective.

I think the only one that comes close to being elegant is the B2:


27th Dec 2016, 08:13

Hadn't seen the picture before.

I see it retained the Rebecca Mk4 aerials!

29th Dec 2016, 06:13
The Beverley at Fort Paull looked to be in good condition in April 2013

photos here (http://www.edendale.co.uk/GO/Paull.1.html)

Chris Scott
29th Dec 2016, 16:02
Don't know quite why he was picking on Blackburn, but the same guy that told me about the Dutch barn also claimed that one of the test pilots had written something like this after his first flight in the prototype Buccaneer:
"This aircraft is extremely difficult to get into. It should be made impossible."

Goes to show that first impressions are not always right...

That B2 has got almost as much headroom as the Beverley. Interesting empennage.

fauteuil volant
29th Dec 2016, 16:36
..... better still, the Bluebird.

29th Dec 2016, 16:46
Don't know quite why he was picking on Blackburn, but the same guy that told me about the Dutch barn also claimed that one of the test pilots had written something like this after his first flight in the prototype Buccaneer:
"This aircraft is extremely difficult to get into. It should be made impossible."

That remark was reportedly orignally made about another Brough product, the Botha, generally regarded as one of the worst aircraft ever built.