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XV 179 - 10 Years Ago

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XV 179 - 10 Years Ago

Old 2nd Feb 2015, 18:13
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I had the pleasure of flying with most of the crew of Hilton 22 over the years and also had the honour to be part of the RIAT flypast that summer albeit flying a "J", I was number 4 nearest the crowd. I thought the commentator did a brilliant job and according to friends on the ground there was a lot of "dust in the air".


RIP Steady and crew.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 18:27
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Another year has gone past so swiftly.
My thoughts, as always, are with the families and friends that were left behind.

I was in the RAF Club today, and found this on one of the walls.
I hope the sentiments help explain to the families why your boys sought to fly.

We miss them as you do, and will never forget them.

High Flight
"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (9 June 1922 – 11 December 1941)
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 17:24
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11 long years, never forgotton .. a glass will be raised in a dusty room tonight.

RIP the crew of XV179
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 18:38
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11 years. It seems a lot less time than that. I managed to visit NMA late last year, and paid my respects to the lads, all named on the wall. Having worked with, or accompanied several of these guys down route, it's good to know that their names live on. A wee dram will be a relevant salute tonight.

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Old 30th Jan 2016, 19:28
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It happened long after my time on Albert.

But once an Albert crew always an Albert crew.

RIP guys.
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 19:31
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Another anniversary. Another remembrance. You're still not forgotten. RIP boys.
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Old 1st Feb 2016, 12:16
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Definitely remembered, and the fact we still do after ten years in this fast paced world shows just what we all thought of them.
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Old 1st Feb 2016, 22:17
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XV179 funerals

I had the privilege of flying the flypast for all of the funerals bar one where two funerals clashed. Realised that lots of guys would want to attend on the day and that it would be easier for co-ord on the station and external agencies if everything went through one unit and crew I volunteered us, OEU, to sort it all out as most of us had served on SF with the guys. Support at Lye and from ATC agencies on each day was excellent.

On the downside there was a real case of sloping shoulders in the planning. Gp rules were quite specific as to min heights, Stn Cdr authorisation etc. I did ground recces of most sites and found run-ins that would work while avoiding local hospitals etc while being ideal on positioning. Drew up maps, briefing points and notes on each run-in and submitted them to Wg Cdr Ops for Stn Cdr approval. Wg Cdr didn't do anything with it all but eventually told me that I should auth all sorties simply as a training sortie that happened to be in the area at the time! Basically any crap hitting the proverbial fan would stop with me. I duly authed each trip as being iaw all maps and briefings submitted to Wg Cdr Ops.
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Old 2nd Feb 2016, 14:27
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I well recall standing in Wanborough churchyard with a company of ex colleagues. (If the devil had cast his net at that moment he would have caught a rich haul). We had just sung Puff the Magic Dragon for Gary Nic when the fly past appeared from behind the church heading north to south. Albert followed the nap of the earth deep into the valley in front of us, causing consternation on the M4, before making a most righteous steep climb up to the base of Golf 1. It was very dusty I recall just then. The champagne and fireworks rounded the day off very well.
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Old 3rd Feb 2016, 06:04
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On Monday, just a day or two after the 11 years, I was having post Rugby Sevens lunch at the Spruce Goose Cafe. This happens to be right next to the RNZAF unit at Wellington airport and a dark grey stubby fat albert arrived in a trail of dark exhaust! Rare enough to see military a/c in NZ, the first Herc I'd seen outside of airshow for years.

RIP Guys
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Old 30th Jan 2017, 14:31
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RIP boys. Raising a glass to you all once more.
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Old 30th Jan 2017, 18:05
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"We Shall Remember Them" ... always

A wee glass in a dusty room later .....

RIP Guys
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Old 30th Jan 2017, 18:17
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Despite being an ex-truckie, and despite having sat through most of the Coroner's Inquest at Trowbridge, I managed to miss this thread when it came round a year ago.

So I apologise for this late response to Hatchet 130's
I thought the commentator did a brilliant job and according to friends on the ground there was a lot of "dust in the air".

There was indeed a lot of dust, Hatchet. See, I was that commentator (and thanks for very kind words) - but it was an enormous privilege to do that for "our boys", as Lyneham staish referred to them.

And the dust got to me. In fact, I was just managing to hold it together during the long silence after the formation had lost its missing man and departed. But then I caught sight of a woman I knew, walking away from the fence, in absolute floods of sobbing, wracking, tears. Rather unprofessionally, I lost it, utterly.

Fortunately, my fellow commentator was able to take over for the next aeroplane, which, if I remember rightly, was a B1.

I'll never forget that day. And, of course, our boys remain firmly engraved on my memory.

I'm glad to say that 'Steady's' Mum and Dad are still going strong, and have posted here.


Last edited by airsound; 30th Jan 2017 at 18:41.
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Old 30th Jan 2017, 18:48
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Just found this on the local newspaper site.....

Daughter of RAF Hercules crash victim to give back to fund (From Wiltshire Times)

Seems Richie's daughter takes after her Dad, "a kind, generous, thoughtful individual" ..... well done lass
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Old 30th Jan 2017, 19:43
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Well done her - pretty special that
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Old 30th Jan 2018, 09:30
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I was a Cadet with Andy. Tonight at my ATC Squadron I'll be telling the tragic story of Hilton22. Will probably be a dusty room, particularly when we listen to airsound's commentary.
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Old 30th Jan 2018, 19:21
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Originally Posted by Pavehawk69
10 years ago on the 30 January 2005 at 1330Z the crew and passenger of the Hercules C130K, callsign Hilton 22 (XV179) were flying north-west from Baghdad International Airport. They were en-route to Balad when the aircraft received sustained gunfire from an insurgent team over whom they had unwittingly flown. The aircraft suffered a catastrophic failure following this assault when an explosion caused twenty three feet of the starboard wing to detach, outboard of number 4 engine.

The aircraft crashed killing all ten men on board;

Sqn Ldr Pat “Paddy” Marshall,
Flt Lt David “Steady” Stead,
Flt Lt Andy “Smudge” Smith,
Flt Lt Paul “Pards” Pardoel,
MEng Gary “Gary Nic” Nicholson,
Flt Sgt Mark “Gibbo” Gibson,
Chf Tech Ritchie “Delia” Brown,
Sgt Bob “Logical Bob” O’Connor,
Cpl David Williams,
L/Cpl “Jonah” Jones.

RIP . Gone but never forgotten
I was on almost my last Herc trip after 35 years service and I had the pleasure of being the Nav with Smudge and Captain Ken Mac C doing a flat bed rotation from Monte Pleasante to Lyneham. We routed back through Canoas in Brasil and I introduced Smudge to a bit of down-route relaxation. I have never forgotton that evening. I still cannot believe that he is no longer with us. Smudge was a lovely young bloke and I enjoyed every minute of his company and sitting behind him in the cockpit with lovely Ken McC guiding us back to Lyneham (in every way) will live in my memory for ever. I was leaving the RAF less than 6 months later but I bought a brand new No 1 (with medals) which I wore to Smudge's funeral. I have never worn it since but every time I look at it in my wardrobe I remember our wonderful trip to the South Atlantic. RIP young chap- you had great hands.
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Old 30th Jan 2018, 19:54
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Yet again, I find I cannot believe the anniversary has come round so quickly. I still feel that I had unfinished business with Gary. He and his crew landed at Akrotiri to slip on rotation from the desert as we were about to launch for Brize. ATC asked if we would hold and take them home. Of course we would. Out of the gloom (it was dusk) came the hulking figure of Gary Nic "******* hell, it's you " he said. Yes, said I who had trained him on 47, now get down the back as we want to fire this thing up. Once established in the cruise I went back to say "Hi" and he was fast asleep. It seemed unkind to wake him, and he deplaned before I had chance for a chat. There is a moral in here, but the dusty atmosphere in my study has made it impossible to type it. So, I'll just lift this cold beer and toast "Absent Friends". Damn, the dust is getting worse. NOT forgotten.
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Old 30th Jan 2018, 20:26
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Not forgotten.

'Lest we forget' applies to both young and old and these guys are always young in mind.

A couple of them were also daft and ugly, but I guess you had to be there to smile at that.

RIP gents, trust me, this is not a cheap malt.
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Old 30th Jan 2018, 21:30
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Not forgotten.
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