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Cdr 'Sharkey'Ward RN

Old 26th Aug 2007, 07:40
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I recommend:

'RAF Harrier Ground Attack, Falklands' by Jerry Pook as well as 'Hostile Skies' by David Morgan.

You can buy both together from 'Big River' for 19.37, I see.

They also sell Ward's book 'Sea Harrier Over The Falklands: A Maverick at War'.
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 08:05
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A neighbour is an ex-R.N. Admiral who happily gave up flying so as to get command of a ship, which says a lot.
what it actually says is Double 0 doesn't understand the way the RN used to work.

The Navy's primary business is, hardly surprisingly, driving ships... a task given to the Executive Branch, and flying was a sub-specilisation of that branch. The RN Officer corps was streamed into the General List and the Supplimentary List. Thus a Junior Pilot could be either GL(X)(P) or SL(X)(P).
To rise above the rank of Commander you had to be GL... and this is the important bit... it was expected you would have had command of a small ship (typically a frigate or destroyer).

Most aircrew were recruited onto the SL, it got them through the training pipeline quickly as they started flying training on graduation from Dartmouth. Therefore an SL(X)(P) with career aspirations would a. have to request transfer to GL, and b. go off to complete his Bridge Watchkeeping ticket and gain seamanship experience.

Some GLs were allowed to fly but would only do 2-3 tours before returning to ship-driving for the sake of their careers (If they chose to keep flying they too would be unlikely to rise above Cdr.)

So, Double 0, your neighbour obviously had aspirations, and as he made Admiral that was obviously a good decision? As far as I know things are slightly different today; everyone leaves Dartmouth on a level playing field and those who show potential for high rank, from any specialisation, are groomed after the first few years service; and their career managed appropriately.

It is still, generally, the case that to rise high you need to acquire broad experience... what use a Captain of an Aircraft Carrier who can land a GR7 on the pitching flight deck, but can't put the ship alongside the wall in Guz (aka Plymouth)?
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 08:15
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Fair enough,

But in other more enlightened Navies the skipper of a carrier is a pilot;

as for berthing manouvres, I thought that was left to the sweating 1st / executive officer, and in real life is controlled by the tug-master !

Aspirations are one thing, but one is either a flyer or not...
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 10:54
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Double Zero,
Quite so. The US Navy understand that the purpose of a CV is to project air power, and therefore the skipper must have a fundemental understanding of its employment in the exactly the same way an RAF Station Commander is supposed to. Hence both the skipper and CAG are aviators. I believe that the XO is normally a boat-driver who can deal with the "wet" issues on the skippers behalf.
The ability for a skipper to be able to land aboard his own boat is a simple form of leadership and engenders respect from the nugget to the CAG.
It also enables aviators to have proper careers, helping to retain the brightest and the best, rather than encouraging them to "jump ship" to the RAF / airlines to carry on flying.
It will be interesting to see how the RN play this, as really the CVS' have always seem to have been seen as large ASW destroyers by the RN, and skippered accordingly.
My concern is whether the RN can retain enough pilots of sufficient quality to produce CV skippers; perhaps in this era of "jointness" the skipper should be an RAF Group Captain?!!
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 11:31
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Thanks for that !

As to the 'bridge watchkeeping ticket' - I presume that's what the very junior poor sod on the Glasgow had when it was T-boned by a tanker & carried into harbour on it's bulbous bow ?!

The navy never seem to learn - if we get 2 large carriers,

A; one will be in dock

B; they treat people so badly - it needs more than I-pods- they can't crew them ( where have I heard that before, press gangs ?! )

C; They don't even as far as I know make out if they're going for the F-35B ( to me an obvious choice, but some Phantom huggers seem to think they're getting the Nimitz ) or what.

There seems a very poor chance of having a pool of Navy fast jet pilots,
as the last lot saw their aircraft & station binned...
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 11:57
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Why did he try to contact the Vulcan on Black Buck 1?
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 12:40
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His book seems to be similar to Chuck Yeager's book.
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 13:21
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I read Sharkey's book a month or so ago and have a sneaking suspicion that he didnt like the Air Force much ..

If you said you had been to Tenerife I bet he would claim to have been to Elevenerife.

Gave my copy to a charity shop.
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 14:42
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Was almost perturbed that my own involvement was irrelevant, but then so was that of the other SHAR sqns so not too bothered.
Then you should get your copy in Pronto. Why sit back when you can have the real Falklands story as told from your perspective.

All the books here are a good read IMHO, haven't read Morgans yet. But I have got my own pictures of his** & Pooks handiwork north of Mt Kent!

**Hare not Morgan, I'm getting old.

Last edited by AR1; 26th Aug 2007 at 23:42. Reason: memory lapse
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 16:33
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I had the honour of being present when one of Sharkey's wing-men ( a poor description for someone who became an ace then navy Test Pilot ) gave a talk - just as he was leaving to drive an airliner, having been made an offer he couldn't refuse !

If really really bored, dial in 'harrier' then 'history' & 'harrier testing'...

My father was an engine fitter on escort carriers in WW2, & he reckons the internal politics then were more of a snag than the axis forces, inc Kamikaze !

Which, along with my own experience with BAe - first run like a swiss watch by John Farley, later run like a rubber spanner by accountants - is why I see a fair bit of truth in Sharkey's tale.
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 17:44
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FarEast: In what ways, exactly?

CG
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 18:13
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CG
I think that its a size thing.............ego that is.

Check your PMs
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 19:07
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Glass Houses and Stone Throwing

Double Zero

PPRune is a good place for vigorous (sic) discussion but if you wish to undermine BEagle's post by criticising his spelling you need to make sure that your own is faultless. Alas it isn't.
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 20:05
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I read Sharkey's book a month or so ago too and I thought it was a bloody good read. It did descend into farce however when he began accusing the RAF of 'calculated insults' ie when he wasn't given seniority and allowed to disembark the VC-10 first on return to Brize, when he wasn't invited to the welcome-home party for the returning batallion etc etc. Basically everyone was a w****r except him. I was disappointed because the guy obviously did a brilliant job in the South Atlantic but at the end of the book he simply comes across as a c**k.
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 21:17
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His book seems to be similar to Chuck Yeager's book.
Far East,

In what way?
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Old 26th Aug 2007, 21:19
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When I was a staff officer at HQ STC the great majority of the 3 Gp Harrier maffia were of the opinion that the great "Sharkey" Ward was a complete embarrassment to the FAA. Not to be trusted with confidential information and also a go it alone knob. What say you Spon?

3P

Last edited by threeputt; 26th Aug 2007 at 21:20. Reason: HQ not Hq
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Old 27th Aug 2007, 09:03
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Mstjbrown I agree re spelling - touche...

I certainly did not mean to undermine Beagle's or anyone else's post - but I did think we were supposed to discuss points of view here ?

I must say I get more than a hint of " not one of the in crowd " - officer's messes are not a great way to judge people...so effectively disregards if Sharkey was effective in role or not.

As a separate item not particularly involving Sharkey, " The Secret War For The Falklands " by Nigel West is worth a go, though my girlfriend would kill me for saying that as he was an annoying prat during her previous husband's spy scandal ! As far as I can make out he ( not N.West ) was innocent - and as a military aircraft photographer I'm on shaky ground for that as well as my spelling.

For what it's worth, I agree with the comment re. Yeager - as far as I can make out his great skill to get to Mach 1 was being either brave or daft enough to hang on - & his interview by J.Clarkson revealed a pretty unlikable character - " The Spitfire was a pony-arsed airplane "

Well I wouldn't mind seeing a turning fight between a Mk9 & a Mustang; then again who was it who dropped his tanks & tried shooting them for fun, when the rest of his squadron was in one of the largest fights at the end of WW2 ?!

Thread drift, hat, coat...

Last edited by Double Zero; 27th Aug 2007 at 09:22.
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Old 27th Aug 2007, 15:25
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Originally Posted by Double Zero
Well I wouldn't mind seeing a turning fight between a Mk9 & a Mustang;
Or the P-51's .5 mgs v the Spits 20mm cannon.
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Old 27th Aug 2007, 18:42
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Or the Mk9 Spit against the Allison engined Mustang before the guys at Hucknall worked their magic on it!
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Old 27th Aug 2007, 19:34
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Are you referring to Mrs Schilling's orifice, or later 2-stage mod's ?!!!

Sorry, was thinking of Allison-built Merlins...
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