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Alan Pollock

Old 3rd Apr 2018, 11:12
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Alan Pollock

Been discussed on here many times before chaps, but FYI: RAF veteran pilot, 82, relives the split-second decision he made to fly through a busy Tower Bridge | Daily Mail Online
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 14:29
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I was working at Barclays Bank Millbank on that morning and was on a break so was able to dash outside to see what caused the considerable noise (it really was that loud). Although the building is by the Thames it is surrounded by trees so no machine was visible just the low level sound as you would get at an air show. It certainly made the papers that evening and the TV reported it but without any real images of the event as the 'Tower Bridge' bit had not been pre planned or any media notified in advanced. Air Traffic at Biggin Hill were called (civvy by then) and they called a couple of the fighter bases to the north east of London to be told by one of them ' Oh he's done it then !!!' .
I believe he was also involved with the original Yellow Gnat team at Valley as led by Lee Jones,so its a shame that the 'Bridge day' finished his career; but he made his point and paid for it.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 14:36
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Originally Posted by rolling20 View Post
Indeed, I've just been reading the article. I wrote about the incident in the book 'Fading Eagle' I can't recall how long and haven't got a copy immediately to hand to cross reference, however, it took something like 12 hours to take down his formal witness statement. Part of the way through, the investigating officer asked Pollock if he objected to a recess as he had got cramp in his writing hand and did he mind if someone else took over copying his statement for a while. He didn't just fly through the spars of Tower Bridge but paid unannounced flying visits to Lakenheath and I think Marham as well before beating up the Squadron HQ of 54 Sqn at West Raynham. 54 being the other close support unit at the base, also kitted out with Hunter FGA9.

FB

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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 14:44
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The CI at Valley, Wg Cdr Bill Edwards AFC, and Lee Jones both offered Alan the No.3 position with No.4 FTS aerobatic team. He had flown a few fly-off practices with the 'team' in April 1964 but, as he was already Flight Commander on the new Gnat squadron and had recently won that season's singleton aerobatic display commitment, continuing as No.3 was not considered possible. He would occasionally use a yellow-painted Gnat aircarft for his displays and once earned the displeasure of Gerry Ranscombe when he was involved in a landing accident at Yeovilton after a show in June 1964. the aircraft - XR983 - was fortunately undamaged.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 15:29
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I feel it is only appropriate to mention here that Alan has been a true stalwart along with the late Tim Webb of the Hunter tribe. Despite his ailing health he has kept up a constant stream of "Information" regarding the health and otherwise of the 3000+ pilots who became operational on one mark of the hunter or another. Not an inconsiderable undertaking by any stretch of the imagination.

Subsidiary to the above Alan also for many years had an active role in the affairs of No's 1, 26 and 43 Squadron "old boys" associations. Not to forget his very active role in getting the war widows pensions sorted out and several other political adventure's.

In my opinion if anyone deserved a gong for all his good work it is Alan. How about petitioning to get him an OBE as a minimum?

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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 15:40
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Originally Posted by DODGYOLDFART View Post
I feel it is only appropriate to mention here that Alan has been a true stalwart along with the late Tim Webb of the Hunter tribe. Despite his ailing health he has kept up a constant stream of "Information" regarding the health and otherwise of the 3000+ pilots who became operational on one mark of the hunter or another. Not an inconsiderable undertaking by any stretch of the imagination.

Subsidiary to the above Alan also for many years had an active role in the affairs of No's 1, 26 and 43 Squadron "old boys" associations. Not to forget his very active role in getting the widows pensions sorted out and several other political adventure's.

In my opinion if anyone deserved a gong for all his good work it is Alan. How about petitioning to get him an OBE as a minimum?
I'll sign it!

FB
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 17:30
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Wonderful story.

A petition to get somebody an OBE isn't the way - what you'd actually be doing is petitioning for somebody else to do your staff work for you. You'll need to make a nomination:

Nominate someone for an honour or award
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 18:50
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Post #2 almost makes the statement about his "split second decision" sound like a complete fabrication.

Thank God the cowboy element has largely been eradicated from the Service 50 years later.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 18:52
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Originally Posted by camelspyyder View Post
Post #2 almost makes the statement about his "split second decision" sound like a complete fabrication.

Thank God the cowboy element has largely been eradicated from the Service 50 years later.
How do you mean?

FB
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 19:03
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You complete t****pot Camelspyder, if you understood why Al performed this deed then you might understand why people like you have wrung the guts out of a fighting force to the extent that it doesn't have the b*lls to stand up and be counted for something it believes is wrong today.

You might have great FS statistics, but then again you don't have to fly and fight an aircraft.. just push buttons and let it do it for you.

Scr*t
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 19:04
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I suspect views on this will be polarised. I'll leave it at that because I'm just not in the mood...
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 19:12
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Oh come on TOFO old plum climb down off the perimeter fence and gives both barrels full of you opinion!

FB
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 19:39
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A legend in his own (mess) lunch time. Chip on the shoulder-so under the bridge he flew (easy feat). No judgement - so sod off and disappear into history. The big picture doesn't endorse stupidity.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 20:14
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cvg2iln,

To be honest, I don't think it is quite so easy to sit in judgement and find one way or t'other, is all that simple where Alan Pollock is concerned. Your absolutely right, he shouldn't have broken away from his formation, much less tried to dragoon the rest of the pilots on the Tangmere detachment to do the houses of parliament as I believe he proposed the night before. However, that he did what he did, while the grown ups could never condone it (he knew that) he seems to have genuinely believed that the kind of country we were becoming, indeed become, was utterly indifferent to the oldest independent air force, theirs, reaching its milestone Golden Jubilee. One particular Jaguar pilot many years later described occasions here he had acted with a certain degree of unrestrained song and fire and other aircrew have told me of their own, albeit more borderline moments of excess, but as the Jag chap said when he stood before his Station Commander his excuse was to describe his own actions as born of fighting spirit. I doubt if the CO suddenly snapped his fingers and said 'darn yes of course!' but the point is, just who do we really want strapping into the cockpit when the RAF has to confront a more demanding situation, a war for national survival? I'd take the Alan Pollocks and the Jag pilot anytime.

FB
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 21:35
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I was an 18 year old Pilot Officer amending AP129 in Ops Wg HQ at Little Rissington when Al made his point. Now Iím 68, retired after flying 5000 hrs in RAF fast jets. Never flew under Tower Bridge but did a few runs down the Mall on State occasions and it still makes me extraordinarily proud to have been a small part of it all.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 22:50
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Al. wrote an article "Why I Flew my Hunter Through Tower Bridge - 5th April 1968" for "Flypast" magazine.

His article can be read here:
Jever Steam Laundry - 4 Sqn personnel Pollock 004
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Old 4th Apr 2018, 06:41
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I love the Jever Steam Laundry site. Fascinating insight into that time and the people involved. Well worth a peep.
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Old 4th Apr 2018, 09:45
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That increasingly and deservedly used phrase ----

"The knowledge of everything, and the understanding of very little"
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Old 5th Apr 2018, 10:02
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At that time I was a S.A.C. employed at the control tower at R.A.F. Marham. and specifically
in Marham Monitors where we filtered RT calls through to the Approach Room. Flt.Lt Pollock's RT was 'Marham Approach and his call sign'. I asked what was his position and he replied 'Pretty Close' and then I asked Altitude? (maybe I said height ) - 'Pretty Low'. He then flew along the centre line of RW 24/06 at about 30 feet (evidence from Corporal in the RW Caravan) before climbing and turning right downwind to West Raynham. (Apparently Marham was not the only airfield he 'buzzed en route back to West Raynham )I believe he subsequently returned to Marham where he was held under arrest for a couple of weeks, probably to keep away from any press.
Just about everyone in the RAF made a resounding 'YES' when told of his Tower Bridge fly through.


Also at the time he crossed Marham, the traffic lights from the Burma Road across the 24 threshold and on to the taxiway were at green and the Local Controller was returning from lunch as Flt.Lt.Pollock simultaneously crossed 24 threshold. The Local Controller was an elderly Flt. Sgt. and had to sit in a darkened room for the rest of the afternoon.

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Last edited by 5aday; 5th Apr 2018 at 10:29.
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Old 5th Apr 2018, 15:05
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British officer served flying Hawker Hunter Mk IV with 26 Sqdn, 124 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force, RAF in Germany, 1957; served flying Hawker Hunter Mk F VI with 4 Sqdn, 122 Wing, 2nd TAF in Germany, 1957-1958; served flying Hawker Hunter Mk F VI with 26 Sqdn, 121 Wing, 2nd TAF in Germany, 1958-1959: served as ADC at Headquarters 2nd Allied TAF, Germany, 1959-1961; served as flying instructor flying Hunting Jet Provost with No 1 Sqdn, RAF College, Cranwell, GB, 1961-1962; served as instructor with 1 Sqdn, 4 Flying Training School, RAF Valley, Anglesey, GB, 1963-1964; served flying Hawker Hunter Mk IX with 43 Sqdn, Strike Wing, RAF, Kumaxa, Aden, 1965-1966; served flying Hawker Hunter Mk IX with B Flight, 1 Sqdn, 38 Group, Transport Command, RAF, West Raynham, GB, 1966-1968. Flew through Tower Bridge, London, 5/4/1968
POLLOCK, ALAN (ORAL HISTORY)

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