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Hawker Hunter through Tower Bridge

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Hawker Hunter through Tower Bridge

Old 25th Jul 2003, 04:04
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Hawker Hunter through Tower Bridge

Have always had abit of an interest in this incident, but really know very little about it !

Any facts, views, or outright lies appreciated !
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Old 25th Jul 2003, 04:18
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As I recall, and I expect that others will add to it, the Hunter was from 1 Squadron. The story I heard was that pilots were getting fed-up with the government giving the RAF a bad time, scaling it down etc. In a bar somewhere, a pilot (Flt Lt. Alan Pollock if my memory serves me right) who was about to leave the RAF agreed to be elected to fly a Hunter through Tower Bridge as a protest.

It was told to me by a senior officer so I repeat it for what it is worth. I have no doubt if it's wrong we will hear about it.
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Old 26th Jul 2003, 15:54
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I thought Alan was on 54 Sqn at the time. At least, I think that's what he told me at a 54 Sqn reunion some 25 yrs ago - mind you, it was a very alchoholic weekend...... I also seem to remember we had a painting of the event in the crewroom.

Can any current 54 Sqn or 1 Sqn members help on this, it should be somewhere in the Squadron archives.

Thanks,
A
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Old 29th Jul 2003, 05:38
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Here's one for starters!
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Old 30th Jul 2003, 18:03
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Cool

I had seen a painting of this event quite a few years ago. I have been searching for a print but i think it was a one off.
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Old 30th Jul 2003, 20:29
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alexis_lambert........

Coincidentally (if it's any help) I was browsing through one of the bookstalls at the PFA Rally at Kemble a couple of weeks ago and came across a softbacked book about the history of Tangmere. It includes a photo of the print, albeit in black and white.

Can't remember the title; just "Tangmere" I think. Looked like it might be one in a series of airfield histories. If you can find the book there may be a reference for the photo that might throw some light on subject
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 00:27
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The jet was in Bahrein (RAF Muharraq) in about 1970, can't remember whether it was on 8 or 208 (both sqns there at the time).

You couldn't miss it - it had a dayglo Tower Bridge shaped "zap" on the tail, so officialdom must have had a sense of humour then, at least in the Gulf....!
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 00:57
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Al was a Flight Commander on No 1(F) Sqn at the time of the Tower Bridge incident. Following the feat he then returned to West Raynham leaving an angry trail of complaints behind him from the airfields in East Anglia which he had 'taken out' inverted at about 200 ft on his way home. His rejoin at Raynham was from an inverted run-in to the break from about 200 ft. The painting of the event used to hang in the 1(F) Sqn museum, and probably still does.
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 04:12
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Yep recall the famous 22 Loop by Hunters, was not the same feat achieved at a Plymouth Air Show that I seem to recall by the same team.

1956 was the year that 6 Hunters returning from a display ran out of fuel, couldn't make base due to adverse weather conditions, these 6 were Cat 5 but I do believe there were additional Hunters having the same problem but were subsequently salvaged.

The feat under the Tower Bridge was at first thought to have been a joke, I was at Wattisham at the time, can't recall whether he beat up WTM on the way back to Raynham though.

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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 04:50
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On the day concerned I was sitting at my desk at Dunsfold listening on the phone to a Wing Commander in OR speaking about some issue of the day, when he started to speak ever more slowly (a very rare event for that individual) and just before he came to a stop his last words were ‘There is a Hunter flying under the bridges’ There then followed about 3 secs of silence at both ends before we both spoke simultaneously one word – Pollock.

But then you see we both knew him quite well.
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 05:41
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John Gary Cooper, I know of the Hunter formation from the DFLS running out /short of fuel at West Raynham in the 1950's but not the incident you mention.

Do you have any more detail on where the Hunters were displaying, what squadron they were from, etc ?
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 06:19
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There was a similar incident in 1955 when the 54 Squadron display team (Black knights?) were performing a display for some aerial photographers over Odiham.

I believe they had problems with the weather and being picked up by Odiham ATC during their GCA. Eventually they almost all ran out of fuel. A couple of the Hunters pilots ejected as their engines flamed-out, another force landed at Tangmere and another diverted to Farnborough. There was a Vampire T.11 and a Meteor night-fighter involved as camera ships too - the Vamp was abandoned and the crew, one of whom was a USAF photographer, bailed out over Odiham. I think the Meteor was the only aircraft to land back at Odiham in one piece although on one engine to conserve fuel.

Quite a display
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 15:12
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OldBonaMate,

Thanks for clearing up my 54/1f anomalie.

In my defence, I must say that the 54 th's 60th aniversary reunion in 76 was a 'very good' weekend, and over the years, I have spent a lot of time in 1F Sqn's crewroom. Old age must be blurring the memory.

A
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 15:26
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Henry

DFLS is this the Day Fighter Leader Squadron (School?) at West Raynham incident? I was under the impression that this was part of an air display team, I seem to recall that 6 were written off in the same incident and that others were salvaged being less than Cat 5 damaged.
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Old 2nd Aug 2003, 16:57
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Thats right JGC, it was the Day Fighter Leaders School though to the best of my knowledge it was not an aerobatic team.
The school would have been too busy to indulge in that sort of activity.

They were on a normal training sortie and were caught out by a deterioration in the weather, but depending on who tells the story there was more to it than that.

Whatever, it did cause something of a stink and the sudden posting of certain gentlemen in authority.
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Old 5th Aug 2003, 19:44
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Thankyou all for your comments, is very good to hear some of the "auctal" history behind this, just a shame a no doubt outstanding officer had his carear cut short !
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Old 6th Aug 2003, 22:43
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24 Ship Hunter Formation!

There's an interesting article in 'AVIATION NEWS' (September 2003, page 691) about the 'Black Arrows', including a rare photograph of 24! Hunters in formation, as they practiced over RAF Odiham on September 7, 1958.

Although not showing the famous 'Farnborough Loop', I thought that Mike Jenvey, in particular, might be interested.
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Old 19th Aug 2003, 20:54
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Just got hold of a copy of Flypast September 1982. It has a picture of the painting and an article by Alan Pollock called ' The Day I Flew Under Tower Bridge'. If pictures can be posted on here let me know and i'll scan it in.

Last edited by alexis_lambert; 20th Aug 2003 at 05:59.
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Old 23rd Aug 2003, 18:46
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Alexis, would dearly love to read the said article, any chance of a copy..... could of course cover postage, copying etc....
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Old 24th Aug 2003, 06:30
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PM me your e-mail address and i'll scan it in and send it to you.
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