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AVM John W Price (Tail Rotor Price)

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AVM John W Price (Tail Rotor Price)

Old 1st May 2019, 19:21
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AVM John W Price (Tail Rotor Price)

Sad to report the loss of another rotary man - the second this week.

AVM John Price, known as Tail Rotor as he bashed several on the ground when flying the Whirlwind.

JWP came to helicopters having flown with distinction with the RAAF in Korea. He commanded 110 Sqn in the Far East during the latter part of Confrontation and was later 'big' in the Buccaneer world.

A decade ago he had a serious stroke from which he never fully recovered. He was 89.

Funeral - Hereford Cathedral Friday 10 May 1130 hours.

Old Duffer
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Old 2nd May 2019, 16:51
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Very Very sad to hear that

I had dealings with him for quite a while after he left the RAF and nicer bloke it was hard to find. He always said he'd found shifting to civvie street tough as the whole of modern business seemed to be full of shysters & hucksters.

IIRC he used to zoom about the Uk well into late life on his motor bike...... hadn't seen him since his stroke but I 'll always remember him as a decent, intelligent and very helpful guy........
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Old 2nd May 2019, 18:03
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Very sad to see this - my first Station Commander - RAF Laarbruch 1976/1977 in the Buccaneer era.

I remember a distinguished looking "old school" gentleman commanding a great station at the top of its game from the moment you arrived at the Main Gate hidden in the woods.

Last edited by RAFEngO74to09; 4th May 2019 at 15:46.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 18:32
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And of course he was OC 72 as a wg cdr, for which tour he got made OBE.

I recall he came to a reunion at Aldergrove many years later, and confused the Police at the checkpoint who reported:

"An aged biker with an earring who claims to be a retired AVM!"

RIP Sir.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 14:32
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I've been passed the following photo, which is of John Price celebrating 2000 hours (not bad for a wg cdr) after an operational sortie in Northern Ireland.

I can identify some, but not all in the picture. From L to R

A Mess Steward, George Bain, MALM?, FS? (SNCO i/c groundcrew), Tom Cuthell (crewman) in the door, JWP leaning on the oleo, Simon Kitchen (Nav) [OC 72 usually flew with a nav so he could hog all the Captain hours!], Tom Porteous (OC B Flight)
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Old 3rd May 2019, 20:40
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But do you mean 2000 hours rotary? He flew something like 100+ plus sorties on F8 Meteors of the RAAF in Korea, where he was sent not long after graduating from Cranwell. He was a very lucky teddybear with lots of flying tours for an Old Cranwellian.

Don't forget it's 1130 next Friday at Hereford Cathedral and I expect to adjourn to a local hostelry afterwards for lunch - a bit a la Alex Tarwid from 2017. You can gather in some guys as you drive down the A49!!!

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Old 3rd May 2019, 21:55
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Here is a pic from 1953, FGOFF John Price with his Meteor F.8 "EASY II", 77 SQN RAAF

AWM pic JK0647
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Old 5th May 2019, 14:06
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Yes O-D you're probably right (as you usually are!)

But that was as it was passed to me - I guess 2000 rotary sounds more likely.

Won't be able to make Friday I'm afraid - it clashes with a hospital appointment (at Gobowen, me old war wound dontcherknow), but I shall raise a glass to the Old Boy on the day.

He must have been well into his 80s (or even 90s) I imagine - amongst others he wore a UN Korea ribbon - haven't seem an obit but I'm sure there will be one.
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Old 6th May 2019, 08:03
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He was at Honington during my Buccaneer course and was on of the nicest people on the station. His gentlemanly ways were something of a contrast to the martinet who ran the place at the time. John preferred a longish hairstyle, unlike the Stn Cdr and explained that head lice were hardly a problem for a Gp Capt in 1976! So his course photo had a large tin of 'nit powder' drawn on, which he found most amusing.

His favourite crew room drink was hot Bovril; one day he casually mentioned that it was better with celery salt, so as my SLJ was to sort out crew room rations, I obtained a jar for him. His genuinely kind thanks for such a small act when I presented it to him made it clear to me that he would undoubtedly be a very popular Stn Cdr at Laarbruch - as indeed he was.

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Old 6th May 2019, 08:41
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He had a number of endearing idiosychronies. I mentioned to him one time on 72 his rather natty knitted black tie which he wore with uniform.

"Not really a tie Dick. I have a chum at Bates (military hatters) who gave me a roll of the material they use for SD cap bands. I cut a suitable length and wear it as a tie."

"But surely, Sir, that won't last very long"

"No, it doesn't last long. So I throw it away and cut another one!"

He also had a 3-piece No 1! He disliked battledress No 2 and this was pre woolly-pully days, so he had a waistcoat to match his No 1. Discarding the jacket in his office, he would sit resplendant in brass-buttoned blue waistcoat - proper seven buttoned suit-type waistcoat - and very smart it looked too.
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Old 8th May 2019, 21:28
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I was there !
I was on the same Basic Helicopter course at CFS(H) Ternhill as `JWP` in July`64,and had completed my FHT a couple of days earlier. Other course members were in the crewroom,or flying,so I was watching from the `goofers windows` in the `sunshine hangar` as a Sycamore thrashed it`s way up and down the `waterfront` doing quick -stops and downwind transitions and a `jump take-off..`
This was all good fun especially watching other students attempting to land back on the numbered `spots` outside 1 Sqdn as if you didn`t get it right,and you could see all those faces watching you ,the aircraft would get ground resonance,so you`d leap back airborne ,and then have to call for an instructor to get you back to the spot,or even worse the eagle eyed DI in the Tower would tell you to land on the grass...such ignomy ....
Still watching the `fun` ,XG507 comes into view,but now starts flaring ....and sinking,and flaring,and now the tail-stinger is almost on the ground.....at this point I should have said the the `crewroom`," I say ,chaps,this looks pretty sporting,what -ho`", but being a Sgt pilot, I probably said," f$$%^&-ell" he`s crashing",as by now the tail-rotor was furrowing the turf and splintering...

The Sycamore now yawed to the right on it`s wheels and proceeded at some pace across the grass towards the airfield boundary,shedding the rear cabin doors in the process,eventually stopping,followed very shortly afterwards by a fire-engine,ambulance and a staff car,probably OC Flying......

Now,when thinking about this ,I could not think why the aircraft had scuttled off in the direction it did;,however I asked the `font of knowledge`,Old-Duffer, who searched his records ,which confirmed my check on which aircraft it was,and that the accident reports stated that `" the student(JWP) was on his FHT and doing an `engine-off landing`.....blah-blah,etc...So,when we did EOL`s,after entering auto, when stabilised,one pulled the `Idle cut-off`` and the engine stopped,restart when safely on the ground........So ,if you are still with me, no torque,no tail-rotor,aircraft yaws to right.........I had thought that it was a continuation of the `quick-stops`,where the outcome would have been different,,......

I believe JWP also bent the wheels on a WW in the FE as well....but then ,so did I....RIP John....
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