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B.O.A.C. Geoffrey Hargreaves. 1970's

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B.O.A.C. Geoffrey Hargreaves. 1970's

Old 18th Sep 2020, 11:49
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B.O.A.C. Geoffrey Hargreaves. 1970's

I met Geoffrey Hargreaves, at MAN when he was with BA, and I with
BE (S1-11) div. in 1969/70. I left BE./ BA in 1973 for LH in FRA.
Geoffrey moved to BA in THR in a new security posting with B/A.
I remember staying with Geoffrey at his large apartment, and great
evenings at the Chelsea Pub, on the 6th floor of the Belle Air hotel
in Tehran. I, and friend, Ian McDowell (later with SQ MAN) were
driving overland to Calcutta, then on to Australia. where I heard
of Geoffrey's death in England. He had moved from THR to BEY.
Does anyone remember how long Geoffrey was working in Beirut,
and where he is buried ?

Lance Shippey
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Old 27th Oct 2020, 15:47
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Pensioner Arrives in THR.

Geoffrey can't move an elderly passenger from an R.A.F. Comet 4C at THR.
Although working for B/A as security envoy in THR, he was also closely tied
to "Our Man in Tehran" Sir Antony Parsons, British ambassador in Iran. It was
this connection that requested I did not drive my German registered car around
Tehran, instead, call a special tel. number, and a car would arrive at Geoffrey's
apartment to convey me and my friend anywhere at no charge.
In April 1975 plans were being put into place for a Royal visit, which would last
five days, and include utilising a British Concorde. Trade Secretary Mr Peter
Shore, of Harold Wilson's Labour government wanted to bring the Concorde
to THR, as Iran Air had placed a order for two aircraft, with an option on a third.
The first to be delivered in 1976, second in 1977, and the optional third in 1978.
The Royal flight in April 1975 became controversial when it was revealed that
the a/c did not have a valid c.of a. for such a flight. The CAA said it would be
fine, if the a/c was flown by a "Test Pilot" and crew. There was also a further
little problem. If the engine was run in a wrong mode, a risk of fracture of the
compressor blades was a possibility. Using a "Test Pilot" would overcome
this worry. Harold Wilson stood in, and said "No". and the ambassador
informed. that the visit would not go ahead. U.K exports to Iran were worth
169,000,000 in 1973, and included the supply of CKD Hillman Hunter cars.
Iran fulfilled 18% of Britain's oil requirements. The Iranian Royal family were
on very good terms with the Windsor's. Sir Antony Parsons was not best
pleased, and said that it was getting embarrassing.
The solution was to use a VIP Comet 4C of 216 Squadron RAF Transport
Command. The a/c had 2 beds, 4 sleeper seats, and 34 regular seats, plus
ding area, lounge, and wardrobe. and more importantly a fully stocked bar.
The Pensioner Royal a.k.a. The Queen Mum arrived in THR in April 1975.
Geoffrey was instructed to go on board, and escort her off the aircraft.
She refused to move, until SHE was ready to come off. It was a preferred
policy that any VVIP on BA/QF flights be taken off flights as soon as possible
when a/c on ground.
Sir Antony Parsons served as ambassador from 1974 to 1979, and predicted
the survival of the Shah shortly before the revolution and downfall in 1979.
The order and option for Concorde was cancelled in 1980.

Lance Shippey.




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Old 21st Nov 2020, 18:25
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I remember Geoffrey after a few drinks, listening to "Fag-end Lil"
at the piano at the Chelsea Pub in Tehran being very pleased with
himself. He had solved a delicate problem with the "Religious
Police" at an hotel contracting rooms for crew layover stays with
an Australian Carrier. The Police were not amused, that some of
the male flight attendants (a.k.a. Stewards) were going to the
hotel bar in "Drag". so all Aussie crews were barred from the hotel.
Geoffrey, involved with BA crews overnight stays and security in
THR, as well as the Aussie carrier, simply had the Aussie cabin
crews change into BA uniforms on arrival at THR. and arrive at
the hotel as respectable Pommie crew members, after being
ordered to leave the dresses in his office.

I found some of the wildest fun nights were in Harare., Zimbabwe,
Many Western crews would come together in the bar of the
Sheraton Hotel, which also had a fantastic French restaurant.,
and info of where to go to continue partying, out of reach of
'Mugabe's Boys'.

Lance Shippey.

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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 09:58
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Lance ; Marve stuff, especially about Tehran. The bit about predicting that the Shah would survive made me spill my first cuppa because it reminded me of my connection.

Spent most of my early career trying to get back to Iran after being schooled there. Part of the BARD integration and not liking going from 28 on the Northeast Seniority list to 879 on the BEA list I had to pull some strings and was offered Iranair 727 in 1978. Top guy in Iranair asked me to check with my Dad (very high-up) before signing the highly attractive contract. The former referred to the political situation. I questioned Mac senior who said ", yeah, there is likely to be a little skirmish in the Villages."

Dad & Parsons got that figured out, eh ? Larf ! I joined Laker at LGW on the 1-11 instead !
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 10:46
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Thanks for the kind words Gordo.
I thought there was something not quite right, when Geoffrey told me
not to drive my French built Citroen Dyane in Tehran. Although the
car had German "z" plates, the Dyane was built as a CKD as the
Jian in Iran. It hardly attracted attention.
I had to park the car in the walled driveway of Geoffrey's "Apadana"
apartment. A frequent visitor to Geoffrey's apartment was his friend
Abbas Vrusbabh, who worked for Iran Air in a similar role to Geoffrey.
In December 1974, Teheran's Mehrabad Airport's roof collapsed due
to snow, so BA / QF/ IR had VVIP's taken to a local hotel due to security.
Abbas was responsible for the high flyers on Iran Air flights.
Iran Air were courting "Hi-end" pax. In 1975, they operated 4 x B727-186
plus 1 on order. 4 x 727-286 adv. B707's 2 x F27. On order were B747,
B747SP, and Concorde. The Concorde would reduce the THR/LHR/JFK
from 13hrs45min to 7hrs 30min The second Concorde would be used on
the THR/PEK/TYO route. The B747SP to be used THR/JFK direct, to
complete with Pan Am's B747SP. Under the Iran Air General Manager
Lt.Gen. Ali M Khademi ( 1962 - 1978 ) Iran Air posted a net profit for
1974/1975 as US$13,509,000. They had 3925 employees. and an
interest in investing in Pan Am. I saw the name Vrusbabh on a tender
invitation for sale of Iran Air's Fokker F100's a/c. Not sure if this was
Abbas ? I see that IR still operate 4 x F100's.
I flew as pax on the PA B747SP SFO/LHR route. I remember there was
a problem with pax "Nose Bleeds" I guess Gordo, your position with
Northeast would have been on the Trident.? I remember the BEA Tridents
had the same flight management system as the BEA S1-11's , not sure
if the Laker standard 1-11's were different ?

Lance
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Old 25th Nov 2020, 11:09
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Lance; Chap called "Mooncrest" got me welling up again on the Leeds stuff (LBA) because I started there on the NE Viscount 806X's in '72. I was there again on the AE 737's. Over to Tehran though, on this thread, you got me positively howling with nostalgia. Rotters. Yes, I was on the NE Trident 1E at LHR looking hard to get out of the awful NE/BARD integration. Reckoned to go quickly with Iranair on the 727 to Concorde. Well, a lot faster than if i stayed with the NE-BARD-BOAC route. It was Ali K who playfully placed the contract in front of me, handed me his gold cross pen & suggested that if I signed, he would break my arm. He fell about laughing at his own sense of humour and sent me across to the 727 Fleet Office where I was told to discuss the issue, first, with Mac Senior !

Laker had the 300 series. Honestly can't remember the FMS, VIscounts had the Smith's system though and required one week in the D4 Link at Heston after successful ARB. Try a back-course NDB let-down on the Smith's system.....now THAT was good going ! Four button pushes on my last a/c, A340, would take you all the way from Bahrain to Manilla !

T1E required about three button and lever pulls just to engage the FD and a further three (I think) to engage the autopilot. Rare to get a handling sector in those days but Tom Haywayte indulged me on a rare , CAVOK, no wind day outa LHR. Climbing away, I engaged the FD. Sat there, hand flying & enjoying every second, he then asked ; "Why don;t you engage the Autopilot ?" Always a smart-mouth, I responded; "If I knew how, I would !". FE bit the end of his pipe off and Haywate flickered a rare smile.

Oh & Lance, won't stop there ! Got back to UK from Tehran and bought myself a brand new Citroen Ami 8 to go with the Laker job. But. that is another r e a l l y long story !

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Old 27th Nov 2020, 12:23
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Hi Gordy, Great to hear that you had a Citroen Ami 8. I had my Dyane shipped
CCU/SYD, then two years later W/O in SYD when a drug enhanced Lebanese
driven Holden and a red light on George St. I was thrown out and hit the ground
30 feet away. Luckily, I had been skydiving, and rolled up as I was flying through
the air before impact with the asphalt resulting in minor injuries. The Dyane had
a strong chassis, with saved me from more serious injury.

I saw a previous thread you had written, and mentioned your working also for HV.
Recently read a Dutch newspaper article re an HV Flt. Eindhoven to Portugal when
the cpt. diverted due pax violence on board. Cpt. requested "Assistance to be given
to his flight attendants by member of Fire Service, Police Force, Military, or Security
Force" This was the very same address I heard when O/B Flt JNB/FRA. In my case
the Cpt. was assisted by two "Rugby players" who, after the Cpt's command "Bring
him down, Bring his down now" the Cpt. trust a hypodermic needle in the buttock of
the offending pax. Immediate effect, the guy was lifeless. The Cpt then requested a
Doctor. The four of them helped to drag the unconscious pax through the cabin, to
secure in a crew container at the rear of the B747.
Gordo, Did you have a "Set Piece" to announce requesting assistance in such cases?
and was it taught by all carriers ?
I also read that THR embassy Parsons went on to serve as the British spokesman at
the U.N. during the Falklands war.

Lance
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 11:24
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HI Lance,
Sticking with the "nostalgia" side of the thread, yes, my short time with HV was the best ever. An Air Europe casualty, I became a "Gypsy" pilot but the "Three year" contract turned into six months as HV fought with PARC Aviation over the deal. We strung it out for 10 months and it was back to Blighty & the dole.

No, never had a "standard" request format. Only once in my 40 years did I have to request Security. Major off-load problem at Cairo. Pax refusing to sit down prior to start, Groundstaff causing mayhem in the cabin and cabin crew informing me that a passenger in the rear had taken out his lighter and was threatening to burn the aircraft along with the "posh" British Capt. I just requested security at that stage , hiding my Oxford accent with a pretty good northern imitation (!). Pretty prompt response but the aircraft two stands away from me was surrounded by armoured vehicles and security Mr Plods dashed down an empty bridge three stands away & nearly fell to earth.

Aaah, the sweet nostalgia.
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Old 30th Nov 2020, 15:42
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Hi Gordo,
Thanks for info. I had a good laugh about you CAI episode. I also
had a problem there, but at passport control with a group of U.S.
"Special Tourists". We were flying CAI/AMM and the CAI Hotel had
not submitted the passport details for an exit visa The chief of Police
wanted several hundred dollars as a fine, I refused to pay, so denied
boarding. I asked for the phone number of the U.S. Ambassador, and
was told "He's not there, He's on the golf course" at 21.30 and dark,
he must have been an extremely good golfer. We finally got to the
gate on closing, after our agent, who was part of the Sadat family,
paid the money. AMM was a different story, then on to TLV.

Lance
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Old 18th Dec 2020, 15:47
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Lance , Gordo , this really is worth a 'Wow' . You've both opened a can of memories from 45 yrs ago .....
Easiest bits 1st ..The BEA Super 111s had a Smiths Flight sys . When EAC had them and were running out of spares , they visited museums and bought up ones in the museums T-birds ; de Havilland museum's T2 G-AVFH for one . I understand most other 111s had Collins systems . Gordo , with FEs you should have been getting 1 in 2 landings ish ? With pilots on panel we got about 1 in 4 ... if wx ok , skippers were good on T1/2s ..T3s had a rep.
Like Gordo , only one police call . Pax upsetting C/C on LGW-GIB , B732 , GB or B. Airtours I forget which . Skipper 6'3'' went back to sort it . Came back even more moaning than C/C '' call the cops to meet us at GIB '' .. Off I go to ' Architect ' RAF HF who could transmit ops stuff to GIB for us .
On ramp , airstairs go down , and up come two 'crushers' , belted , gaited , 6'10'' , peaked caps on nose . We'd forgotten GIB was RAF station .... was never sure who was more afraid of the RAF police , us or the miscreant . The C/C loved them however .

Now the difficult .. Tehran . Gordo '' you were lucky '' ! Your jump on the merger less disastrous , as we ended up bottom of merged BA , not just bottom of BEA ! Then routes , a/c dropped .
Re-deployed again , and having no attachments , off I went to Tehran at short notice and no training for 'security' supervising July '75.
Memories of collapsed terminal , and a very large hole . Deep as well , which a local BA staff guy drove into in VW minibus . At barely 22 , naive 'Naarfick tractor driver with wings , this was weird ! Got more so . Had to supervise locals doing security searches before boarding . Person in suit jacket comes through , Rwewosa [ metal detector arch ] ? goes off , so hand scanner used ; pistol in shoulder holster ! Locals say let him through it's ok , he's SAVAK ! ... ID please , No ! ''You can't come through here with a weapon , Sir '' .
5 mins later he comes back to me from airside , tap on my shoulder .. I can and did see my friend off !
Way outside my knowing 'wot to do .
Engineers a great bunch .. curing an hot starting Qantas 74 with bags and bags of catering ice packed around the engine , cowl closed , wait 5 , away she goes !
Terminater VC 10 , always 40 overbooked on return . As always big nos. of no shows .... Delayed 30 mins for catering to deliver 1/2 dozen eggs in a uniform cap.... This BEA mind was appalled .
Ops office sweepstake 3 times a week ? As the SYD bound 74 took off .... big sheet of flame in the dark ...winner on 'fone ..'' BAH ? THR here , the 011 will be diverting to you , engine change '' ! Time of PW ovalising eng cowl casings.
Duty officers mostly ok , remember one good guy married to an Israeli lady ; angling to get an Oz posting so they could be together .
Promised accomodation and Citroen Dyane never turned up . So with lack of training I was running at a loss , and not liking it. ... Can still remember '' Dote chai Bazoi '' 2 teas please , and yec , doh , say , etc to 10 .
No wipers or hub caps on cars , until it rained , then mad scramble to fit . Peykan H.Hunters , shared taxis .
Never seen a chilli pepper , thought they were green beans until the 3rd went down .. World then exploded.
Walk up the hill to Chelsea Pub , dry as a bone in very low humidity , inside to a/con , immediately soaking wet , and dehydrated ; 1st pint went down quickly .
Not liking life much , had started talking to Iran Air , had 1000hrs and T1/2s , so was attractive to them for 727s.
Next VC10 in brings a mate ..'wot are you doing here ? I'm replacing you , you're being kicked out tomorrow ...
My flabber was gasted ! No one had told me , nor was ever explained why ... In the cockpit j/s next day breaking cloud over a damp , dismal , grey Essex ; I realised that UK was home and I did not want to be an expat pilot .... Waited out in Merchantman Ops/fleet office until re-treading on T1/2s.
The PS was my mate was not even given an hotel , he slept on the a/c quite a bit . Glad I'd not stayed , but I still have a bank account there [ BA did pay me back 'tho ] .
20 yrs later LHR-THR-BAH , on 76s , thought it best not to do the outside check on our turnround !

The PPS is that I probably met Geoff Hargreaves , but memory's faded .

Thanks both for re-igniting memories .

rgds condor .

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Old 19th Dec 2020, 10:17
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Condor: Luvley post. Enjoying the drift and mods might shuffle us over to "Routes & Nostalgia" but a quick response ;

I thought I was the only one getting no legs in NE but all my mates were in the same boat.Most of the Skippers were long in the tooth and overnight, up came us cadets , early twenties, straight out of Oxford or Carlisle and into RHS. The old boilers were very reluctant to give away handling. Transfer to T1E and the same applied. Pure p2 but rarely got a leg. Opposite side of the curve was a handful of really good guys who gave away leg for leg. We were all busting to fly with that lot !

Both of us saved from Iran and ,like you, I later went in & out of Mehrabad in the 76's.. Unlike my NE peers, I always gave leg for leg and in going into Tehran I also gave that leg away telling my colleagues that I would not be monitoring very well as I would be looking out of the window, tearfully muttering things like ;"Oooooh, there's my old school - and ooooooh, used to live just off that street"! All the Arab F/O's were top draw and enjoyed giving me the best window seat view in the world.

Sorry, didn't know Hargreaves either. He wouldn't have minded the drift though.
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Old 19th Dec 2020, 13:23
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Dear Gordomac and condor17
Love the drift, and Geoff would have been very chuffed.
He was tall, wore his reading glasses on the top of his head.
and had a great sense of humour, especially when having to
deal with the Queen Mother, Also told of a big problem with
the 747 stairs at THR, or lack of them, the the owners wanting
increasingly more money for their use. Geoff was involved for
BA and QF and got together with PA to refuse payment. Pan
Am however somehow always got use of them first. Possibly
due to Iranair's possible massive cash injection in PA.
They was also a big problem with expensive toiletries going
missing from the first class loo's whilst on ground at THR.
I remember a great sauna, which had a small swimming pool
somewhere in THR. I think it may gave been part of a gym ?
Also had a day in Mashhad on way to Afghanistan. The local
"Bil" gave escort, and insisted I park my Citroen in their police
compound for our overnight safety in Mashhad.
Lance
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Old 19th Dec 2020, 19:17
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Gordomac
Just remember I am the gypsy.!! In 78 I was in KAC on B707 and used to fly into Tehran and remember the vast collection of aircraft on the ground.
Just counting number of companies I have worked for and it is seven .If you can beat that then you are the real gypsy.
PS sorry it was eight plus one airline was twice so nine I suppose.

Last edited by thegypsy; 19th Dec 2020 at 19:28.
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Old 20th Dec 2020, 11:21
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gypsy :As a pilot, I score only 8. Happy to kneel before you. I was going to sneak in the fact that my sponsor, BKS, rebranded to Northeast, to BARD and claim another two but you are far to bright to fall for that slight of hand . Season's best.
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Old 20th Dec 2020, 17:32
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Gordomac, can you remember the RT callsign(s) you used during your time on the LBA Viscounts ? It's a subject that's been discussed a few times on here. Possibles include:

BKS
Norjet
Norprop
Northeast
Albion
Bealine
Speedbird

I didn't have a proper airband receiver until the late 1980s so my knowledge is curtailed in this instance, although I have a faint recollection of a callsign (take your pick) plus the last two registration letters, e.g.
G-APEX = Albion Echo Xray.
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Old 21st Dec 2020, 10:35
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Mooncrest : BKS became Northeast while I was a Cadet in 1971.Entering the VC8 fleet in 1972 (March), the callsign was "Norjet". Felt really cheesey bombing about in a viscount and calling ourselves Norjet. Sounded more appropriate with a T1e strapped to my backside and heading off to Newcastle from LHR at M0.86. But, come the integration into BA, we were first, part of BARD,Fuzzy memory now, but I think it was around 1977/8 that our Fleet Manager was tasked with creating a new call sign and he settled on "Albion". Absolutely daft. He accompanied the name change with a long note to all pilots giving the background about some white (allowed to say that ,then,) warriors who conquered England. .He never liked me and even less when I asked him, "Why not Norsejet then- minor typo adjustment-?". Failed my next Base check & banged out for Laker. Bliss. There we called ourselves, er.....Laker......
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Old 21st Dec 2020, 10:56
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Thanks Gordo. One wonders why Speedbird wasn't adopted for the whole combined fleet upon the merger.
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Old 21st Dec 2020, 19:38
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Aplols for thread drift again , not sure how it will be managed ?
Mooncrest , mainly it was ... however various bits were kept , some to this day ..
Bealine are BA tugs around LHR .
Shuttle started on 12th Jan '75 with GLA , now it's all domestics as seen on Flightradar . SHT 7L got slurred to SHT Semolina , SHT 7 P or U got SHT 7up .
Albion was domestics in 'n out of the regions .
Gordo , glad to know where it came from . Can see where you're from with Norsejet ; I'd have gone with Boudicca or Nelson !
Brain says NE 454 became Speedbird / Albion ? 4454 ? Was that NCL ?

Companies no , but C/Ss
Airviews [ Mcr ] ,
Bealine ,
Shuttle ,
Albion ,
Speedbird ,
Airtours [ British ] ,
Caledonian ,
Aer Lingus ,
Shamrock .
AbbasAir ...

Back to Tehran .. 'gurlfriend of the time '80ish , was volunteer C/C on the THR shuttles taking expats out in an hurry . From Kuwait 707 into THR keep engines turning 'n burning , run on the pax . Cannot remember if only handbags ? Slam the door and hightail back to KWI . Good slip , hotel , money , party ..
Ba then ruined it by running it from Bagdad , and wondered why the volunteers very quickly Un-volunteered . That 25 yr old Geordie 'gurl's quote '' It's the A+++hole of the world , I'm not going again '' .

Not quite The Gypsy , but A gypsy , '87-'97 saw me posted to 7 bases , with 6 types [ or 8 if you separate 75 from 76 ] .
Not a record , but got a bit dizzy , however conversion courses all became routine .

rgds condor .
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Old 21st Dec 2020, 19:43
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PS , forgot
Gibair , or Yogibair if slurring .

Lance , if you'd asked me , then tall with glasses migt have rand a bell for Geoff H .

rgds condor .
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Old 22nd Dec 2020, 07:52
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Glad to see nobody is claiming " the gypsy " title but just a gypsy!!

When I was in Britannia I also operated Gibraltar Airways flights from Gatwick and Yemen Airways flights from Sanaa.

Would that count as an extra two Gordomac?

Season's greetings to you too.
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