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Another rant from the Bearded One

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Another rant from the Bearded One

Old 7th Aug 2020, 21:37
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Another rant from the Bearded One

Watch out, chaps. Sharkey's got a new book out.

http://amazon.co.uk/dp/1631298674/re...17PMWhgOj7vP3U

This book relates the part played by Royal Navy Top Guns in defence of UK’s global National Interests since World War II. It is an intimate account of the author’s “technicolour” journey to Top Gun status, the fighter pilot ťlite of Britain’s armed forces, and provides insight into the real world behind the blockbuster movie.

It is about the attitude and making of a war-fighter.

Instructively, it then goes on to provide the unfortunate history of the recent decline of the UK’s Naval Service revealing misleading propaganda and untruths that have been used to fraudulently influence Ministers and the UK Government.

The two stories are interlinked through personal experience of

Phantom F-4K operations from the deck of HMS Ark Royal,
Nuclear Intelligence duties within NATO,
Running Sea Harrier development and production in the Ministry of Defence,
Successful air combat as “Mr Sea Harrier” during the Falklands War,
Internecine battles within the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall.

Major-General Julian Thompson CB OBE, Royal Marines: “Painstaking preparation of his Squadron, superlative personal flying skills, and a determination to engage the enemy more closely, made Sharkey Ward a fighter leader in the mould of Bader, Johnson, Ball, and others in the past”.

Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward, Carrier Battle Group Commander: “If Sharkey Ward had not disobeyed orders, we could not have won the Falklands War”.

A Royal Navy Top Gun and Air Warfare Instructor, Sharkey was Senior Pilot of 892 Phantom F4-K Squadron in the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal during the Cold War. He personally introduced the Sea Harrier Fighter Aircraft to Naval Service, commanding the Intensive Flying Trials Unit 700A Squadron, 899 Headquarters Squadron and then 801 Front Line Squadron in the Falklands where he was Senior Sea Harrier advisor to the Command on all aspects of the fast jet air war. He flew over sixty war missions by day and night, achieved three air-to-air kills (& one damaged) and was involved in or witnessed eight further kills.
The chapter headings give a good idea of what to expect.
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 05:32
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Paperback £27.80?

Not so much non-put-downable as not-pick-up-able......
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 06:33
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I hope Sharkey appreciates being compared with "..Bader, Johnson, Ball,....." rather than inter alia Orr or Hay.
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 08:26
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I realise that he was a fighter pilot but it doesnít sound like a modest and humble analysis of his own supreme brilliance.
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 09:15
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By quoting from his book, and discussing it/him, you are providing him with the oxygen he needs to breathe.
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 12:24
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Originally Posted by BATCO View Post
I hope Sharkey appreciates being compared with "..Bader, Johnson, Ball,....." rather than inter alia Orr or Hay.
You mean compared with men who've been described (respectively) on PPRuNe over the years as a brave but remarkably arrogant and deeply unpleasant man, a rather nasty piece of work and a bit of an anti-social weirdo?



[I appreciate that these might not be fair analyses of the trio and are open to debate, just noting that the assessments exist...]
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 06:00
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Pretty odious individual by all accounts.

Not quite sure how you get through service life with such poor interpersonal skills.

Who were Orr and Hay?


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Old 9th Aug 2020, 06:29
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Originally Posted by Archimedes View Post
You mean compared with men who've been described (respectively) on PPRuNe over the years as a brave but remarkably arrogant and deeply unpleasant man, a rather nasty piece of work and a bit of an anti-social weirdo?



[I appreciate that these might not be fair analyses of the trio and are open to debate, just noting that the assessments exist...]
Having read a bit about Bader and meet people that knew him to the extent of lived next to him etc he was not an overly pleasant individual. However in his defence having read what his second wife replied to an interview on Baderís rudeness, it was that he was unaware of his abruptness or rudeness and would have been upset if thought so. A bit difficult to believe that someone somewhere had not pulled him up on this during his life. I guess you could say itís a bit like the saying ďwhen your dead you donít know your dead, itís those around you feel the pain. Which is the same as when youíre stupid you donít know you are but those around you,,,,,,,,,,Ē

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Old 9th Aug 2020, 08:45
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Never having come across Sharkey Ward or Douglas Bader, I feel certain I've met their characters before in uniform. They suffer fools lightly, are very sure of themselves and yes indeed, expect unquestioning obedience from their juniors but there isn't a rule or military order which they are not prepared to sweep aside. The other most prominent legend of the WWII RAF, Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, was, I have always read, a difficult individual to get to know. Rumours about his popularity with the ground crew were particularly notable, one chap who served alongside Gibson, can't recall in what capacity, but described Gibson as having been unpopular with those who didn't like the idea of being sent on regular PI exercises, such as cross-country runs or around the airfield. At the other extreme is one of the books in the 'Ghost Station' series by Bruce Barrymore Halpenny, an ex-Provost Marshal. Bruce suggests in one chapter that the loss of Gibson and his Navigator in the pathfinder Mosquito they flew over Holland on the night of 19 September 1944, was a result of sabotage by Gibson's ground crew? Err, I'm committing another thread drift crime, so I'll stop! Sharkey is in good company, RAF wise I suppose.

FB

PS Sabotage was unlikely as Gibson swapped aircraft at short notice, but without giving a reason why. The crew of the other aircraft were unhappy with being ordered to climb into the reserve aircraft which Gibson and his Nav were to have flown!?

Last edited by Finningley Boy; 9th Aug 2020 at 08:56.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 10:11
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Originally Posted by Coochycool View Post

Not quite sure how you get through service life with such poor interpersonal skills.
Stick the [email protected] on a boat out the way.

CG
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 10:44
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StillÖ he shot down the bad guys and not one of ours, eh?
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 12:20
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Originally Posted by finestkind View Post
Having read a bit about Bader and meet people that knew him to the extent of lived next to him etc he was not an overly pleasant individual. However in his defence having read what his second wife replied to an interview on Baderís rudeness, it was that he was unaware of his abruptness or rudeness and would have been upset if thought so. A bit difficult to believe that someone somewhere had not pulled him up on this during his life. I guess you could say itís a bit like the saying ďwhen your dead you donít know your dead, itís those around you feel the pain. Which is the same as when youíre stupid you donít know you are but those around you,,,,,,,,,,Ē
Indeed - I should perhaps not that I was simply attempting to observing that Julian Thompson's comparison wasn't necessarily as glowing as he might have thought - but didn't make the point clear.

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Old 9th Aug 2020, 14:45
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"“If Sharkey Ward had not disobeyed orders, we could not have won the Falklands War”.

Really????
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 15:10
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Ward and Gibson

Whilst acknowledging the flying skill of Ward, surely the real keys to the successful air campaign, were the AIM 9L and the positioning of a long-range radar and ELINT facilities in southern Chile to provide early warning of raids taking off from Argentina?

On the subject of Guy Gibsonís death, I have read that he was unfamiliar with the type of Mosquito he few that evening, but he rejected the offer of a quick brief from one of the other pilots on the various differences. The aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed probably because Gibson didnít know how to locate and operate the fuel transfer switches located behind his seat.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 17:17
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
"“If Sharkey Ward had not disobeyed orders, we could not have won the Falklands War”.

Really????
Yes, Asters. Agreed it doesn't look right but with Sandy having unfortunately died in 2013 he's scarcely in a position to confirm or deny if he said that.
Also, if you search that "quote" the only two references to it on the whole Internet are in. . .you guessed it;
This very Thread and an Amazon page selling his book.
Knowing the Bearded one - were I to order the book I'd need to add a hefty amount of salt to the order to have by my side whilst reading; my thought being that very many pinches would be required to be taken to make it palatable.

If that was really Sandy's mind - there'd be a few more than the two occasions it has been mentioned. I call Bearded Bollocks on that one.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 10:50
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Reading between the lines

This is the problem with any book with a particular theme, you have to make your own judgement on when it is getting 'away' from hard facts.
Comparing previous well know 'personalities' with present day individuals is also a sure fire way to cloud the issue as their own histories have indeed now been laid bare by intense scrutiny and the power of computer research, and not confirm popular hype of the time.
To gain a true insight of any situation or individual requires proper research, not gained by a couple of books. A good read should be entertaining and contain hard facts together with the writers OWN SLANT on the situation which may vary with other opinions. When I read Wards original missive I considered it informative and not lacking in non pc comments about anything. However he also readily recalls some of his less memorable mistakes like crashing his car whilst U T I which at least seemed to be honest. A reader has to be his own 'filter' in any book and this sometimes is as much entertainment as the book itself. Every person has 'their moment' if they choose to share that with others they do so knowing the feedback can be quite withering. I am sure SW cares not a hoot about what is said one way or another which is in itself probably why his latest missive will be 'entertaining', I may well grab a copy when it comes up on ABE at a sensible price in a couple of years.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 10:58
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As a commercial pilot for many years I remain fascinated by all aspects of aviation including naval. I doubt whether I would have had the guts / ability to land an F4 onto a pitching Ark Royal. I have flown in the airline context with more than a few Falklands Harrier veterans and a very close friend of mine was on his F4 squadron. I have not heard any of them talk ill of him. What is it that attracts such animus and what character traits are optimum exactly when we ask people to go to war on behalf of squabbling politicians? Genuinely curious as an outsider so no flak please.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 15:38
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WARNING! Thread drift!

Originally Posted by Visitation View Post
On the subject of Guy Gibson’s death, I have read that he was unfamiliar with the type of Mosquito he few that evening, but he rejected the offer of a quick brief from one of the other pilots on the various differences. The aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed probably because Gibson didn’t know how to locate and operate the fuel transfer switches located behind his seat.
For all his alleged personality faults, Gibson was acknowledged to be a first-class pilot, so I am not inclined to believe the fuel-mismanagement hypothesis. Consequently, I am more predisposed to support the more recent theory that he and Warwick were victims of a Friendly Fire incident involving the rear-gunner of a Lancaster returning from the ill-fated operation. (See https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...SH-airman.html and before anyone castigates me for using a DM link/source this was covered in the ‘quality’ MSM too – I use the DM link as its not behind a paywall!).

Eye-witness reports from the locals at Steenbergen also described the Mosquito emerging from the cloud base ‘ablaze’ and in a steep dive, which would not support the ‘fuel starvation’ scenario. I understand that Luftwaffe records show that no night fighters were lost to enemy action that night in the vicinity of Steenbergen either, but the shoot-down in the area of Steenbergen was witnessed and reported by other Lancaster crews in the returning bomber stream. Finally, many gunners were trained on the maxim: “if an aircraft comes up behind you, count the number of engines. If its less than 4, OPEN FIRE!” Any gunner able to tell a JU 88 from a Mosquito in the split-seconds of a night engagement was a rare commodity indeed. That does not – by any means – imply any criticism whatsoever of Sgt McCormack or any of his colleagues whom I hold in the highest regard; fratricide is an unfortunate aspect of all conflicts.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 16:50
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Originally Posted by olster View Post
As a commercial pilot for many years I remain fascinated by all aspects of aviation including naval. I doubt whether I would have had the guts / ability to land an F4 onto a pitching Ark Royal. I have flown in the airline context with more than a few Falklands Harrier veterans and a very close friend of mine was on his F4 squadron. I have not heard any of them talk ill of him. What is it that attracts such animus and what character traits are optimum exactly when we ask people to go to war on behalf of squabbling politicians? Genuinely curious as an outsider so no flak please.

Iīve never seen anyone on here get at Ward on grounds of his flying skill nor his bravery in the FI War. itīs his mono-maniacal belief (which seems to get worse with age) that

a) only the FAA were there,

b) everyone else is an idiot at best and a danger to The Nation at worst

There's no balance, no discussion, no........... sensibility......
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 17:03
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What is telling for me is that, if you read his Combat Report of the C-130 shoot down (and I did before I first deployed onto 1312 Flt), and then read the 801 NAS Official History, and then read his account in 'Sea Harrier Over The Falklands', all 3 accounts differ.
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