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What is it about the Wessex that makes people so fond of it?

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What is it about the Wessex that makes people so fond of it?

Old 4th Dec 2011, 16:00
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I'm not sure what makes the Wessex so loved by so many, but it helped to start my interest in aviation when I flew in one from the Stanford PTA in 1972/3.

As an Army Cadet on a weekend TA exercise, it was straight from the back of a Saracen APC and into the aircraft, at night. I had a seat opposite the cabin door and we were around 50' up before I knew what was happening. I had the opportunity to work closely with the type in later years, and always regarded it as "my" aircraft above all others except the mighty Sioux.

My only regret is that I never found out which aircraft I flew in on that first occasion, or which service it came from. Thanks to all for a very enjoyable thread.
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Old 4th Dec 2011, 21:19
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SASless

This one was the first Wessex FAW 1.



Knocking down the free worlds finest VTO fighter, in IMC, with it's tail wheel.........



This one suffered from severe corrosion................



What a piece of kit..............
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Old 4th Dec 2011, 23:08
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That is getting entirely too close for comfort....like pants piddling close!
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 08:01
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SAS

Yes all true but as wew were in cloud we were blissfully ignorant.........!
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Old 7th Dec 2011, 18:10
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Couple of Wessex v Formation pix - with a difference. Close encounters with Fixed Wing 2 - slightly safer than your's Bast0n!


781 at Lee on Solent 1974 or 75.

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Old 8th Dec 2011, 02:54
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Ah! 'The Green Parrots'

S
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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 12:11
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Happy Christmas all you Wessex lovers, and a wonderful New Year. D




PS - Pingers, insert holly as appropriate!

Last edited by bast0n; 22nd Dec 2011 at 13:25.
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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 12:44
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More Wessex memorabilia

This Wx1 made an unscheduled arrival at CU.



This group of reprobates were at a 'hospitality event' at Lanveoc Poulmic in 1969. Unfortunately Smudge Smith and Paul Hardcastle are no longer with us. Boy what an alcoholic weekend that was and what excellent hosts our French colleagues were. I managed a flight in the piston engine HSS1 which was very interesting.



A famous formation with two classic Wessi to admire.

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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 13:27
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Geoffers

You can tell that all those chaps in France are pingers - No medals!!

D
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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 16:18
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No Medals

We were too good at keeping the enemy at bay to have any contact but when asked to help out we can do our bit. By the way the picture was taken during AFT so a bit difficult to earn a gong at that stage of your career. I think we earned a Legion D'Honeur for the amount of wine and whisky we heroically consumed in the cause of maintaining the Fleet Air Arm's reputation for partying at V-Max.

Two Wessex's lost
During the operation to retake South Georgia bad weather trapped SAS men on a glacier and a Wessex 3 and two Wessex 5's were sent to retrieve them. The first Wessex from H.M.S. Tidespring lifted off as the wind whipped up the snow but the pilot lost his bearing in the snow and crashed, skidding for some 50 yards and finally tipping over. The other two helicopters had now embarked their troops, so they lifted and landed next to the crashed Wessex and took on her aircrew and soldiers. Both aircraft dumped fuel to carry the extra load.

Visibility by this time was practically zero and the wind and snow had not abated. The helicopters lifted off. The Wessex 3, equipped with radar, took off with the Wessex 5 following astern and made their way down the glacier. Seconds later the helicopters traversed a small ridge and the Wessex 5 flared violently and struck the top of the ridge. It rolled onto its side and could not be contacted by radio. The remaining overloaded helicopter returned to the ship, some 30 miles away to the north and disembarked is passengers. The Wessex 3 returned to the crash site but was unable to land. They made contact by radio and confirmed there were no serious casualties.


The Wessex 3 returned to H.M.S. Antrim to wait for a break in the weather. An hour later an opportunity presented itself and the Wessex 3 flew back, embarked the survivors and flew back to H.M.S. Antrim piloted by Lt-Commander Ian Stanley RN, who was awarded the DSO.
Motto - when you need some professional help ask a pinger.

G.
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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 18:57
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Geoffers..........

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH!

a tiny bite for Christmas! but in truth that was a great bit of flying. (but he needed a looker to achieve the aim and saying nice things about them is going toooo far!)

Happy Crimbo, D
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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 20:17
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Happy Christmas

D.

Truth is that Pingers are all frustrated Junglies who would rather spend the night in the bar rather than in a fox-hole. But.... as the closest thing we have to brothers we would always be there for you.

Can't be a comfortable feeling for a jungly to be told he has to fly the crabs' cast offs but I guess the Merlin will be a step up from the dear old Squeeking. We can start a thread for that soon.

G.
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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 20:52
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Geoffers,

I was pulled off an IF trip with Mike Lehan to be No 2 (in 569) in that photo: I will try to find the colour copy off a magazine cover

Just to align SK and junglies, another Far East formation during join up: a little bit straggly from both camps




Last edited by John Eacott; 2nd May 2020 at 03:32. Reason: Update photo
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Old 22nd Dec 2011, 23:57
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medals for f-ups .... ?

The first Wessex ......lost his bearing in the snow and crashed

the (second) Wessex 5 flared violently and struck the top of the ridge

..... a break in the weather. An hour later an opportunity presented itself and the Wessex 3 flew back, embarked the survivors......

........ awarded the DSO. 'You Brits' crack me up!!

Tea and Medals anyone?

I know - it's all pretty impressive when you've got only 900 hrs - 'the kids today!'

Wouldn't most people be embarrassed about that sort of screw-up?
Maybe doing something wrong?

(big fan of Wessex btw - how does it's performance/cost compare with a Lynx?)

Last edited by AnFI; 23rd Dec 2011 at 00:33. Reason: to add 'big fan' comment...
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Old 23rd Dec 2011, 01:30
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Now they wuz at War with the Argies you remember.....and there is a certain amount of risk taking done during such periods of unpleasantness.

Mind you the Falklands are such a warm sunny tropical kind of place!
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Old 23rd Dec 2011, 01:45
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AnFI

Every story should be placed in the right context. Here is a little more of the story. I'll post the full version of the citation if I can find it. When read I think you will re-assess the dear old Brits and their commitment to the task and to their comrades.

During the operation to retake South Georgia, bad weather trapped SAS men on a glacier and a Wessex 3 and two Wessex 5s were sent to retrieve them. The first Wessex lifted off as the wind whipped up the snow. The Wessex from RFA Tidespring lifted off, but the pilot lost his bearing in the snow and crashed, skidding for some 50 yards, with the Wessex tipping over. The other two helicopters now embarked their troops. They lifted and landed next to the crashed Wessex and took on her aircrew and soldiers. Both aircraft dumped fuel to carry the extra load.

Visibility by this time was practically zero and the wind and snow had not abated. The helicopters lifted off, and the Wessex 3, equipped with radar, took off with the Wessex 5 following astern and made their way down the glacier. Seconds later, the helicopters traversed a small ridge and the Wessex 5 flared violently and struck the top of the ridge. It rolled onto its side and could not be contacted by radio. The remaining overloaded helicopter returned to the ship, some 30 miles away to the north, and disembarked its passengers. The Wessex 3 returned to the crash site, but was unable to land. They made contact by radio and confirmed there were no serious casualties. The Wessex 3 returned to Antrim to wait for a break in the weather. An hour later an opportunity presented itself and the Wessex 3 flew back and embarked the survivors and was flown back to Antrim by Lt-Commander Ian Stanley RN, who was awarded the DSO.

The following night, 23rd April, 2 Section SBS was landed by helicopter. Five Gemini inflatable craft set out with troops of D Squadron's Boat troop aboard and two suffered engine failure. One of the crews was picked up by helicopter while the other crew got to shore. The Antrim group moved in again, on the 24th April, to drop off more troops and in doing so, located and beached the Argentine submarine Sante Fe. The Antrim's small company of Marines was landed following a hasty conference and the seventy-five Marines, SBS and SAS, under naval gunfire support, landed by helicopter. When they reached the settlement of Grytviken, they found white sheets fluttering from several windows. An Argentine officer complained to the SAS that they had just walked through his minefield. At 5:15am, the Argentine commander formally surrendered. The following morning, after threatening defiance by radio overnight, the small enemy garrison at Leith, along the coast, surrendered without resistance. The scrap merchants, whose activities had precipitated the entire war, were also taken into custody, for repatriation to the mainland. To complete the victory, a helicopter picked up a weak emergency beacon signal from the southernmost tip of the island, Stromness Bay. The helicopter homed in on it and found the lost three-man SAS patrol from the missing Gemini. They had paddled ashore with only a few hundred yards of land left between them and Antarctica. No British troops had been lost.

Last edited by Geoffersincornwall; 23rd Dec 2011 at 01:46. Reason: typo correction
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Old 23rd Dec 2011, 08:24
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sounds like great fun...

where else can a young guy have such adventurous fun?

... and the Wessex a beautiful machine to do it in.

(but crashing must make it harder for everyone to perform their missions - why not train to the extremes and know what you can or cannot do?)
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Old 23rd Dec 2011, 11:38
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AnFI, the training (think Ex Clockwork in the Norwegian Arctic, for starters) was way up there with anything then available around the world. The crews knew their kit, knew their limitations but also knew that if they did nothing then the untimely demise of the ground troops was assured. They went out, did their best and - ultimately, albeit expensively in terms of airframes lost - achieved their aim.

...ISTR it didn't do one of them any harm, he has so far risen to 3* rank in his parent service (which isn't RN).
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Old 23rd Dec 2011, 12:13
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A longer account of the South Georgia Operations.....note the comments that contain the words..."Ice", "Blizzard", "Snow", "High Winds". Also important for Helicopter Pilots....they bagged a Sub down there using helicopters!

South Georgia, Operation Paraquat - Falkland War 1982
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Old 23rd Dec 2011, 17:58
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Further to SASless' link, there is a first hand account by one of the junglies in Chapter Six, South Georgia of "No Sea too Rough".

Maybe AnFI would benefit from reading some background before shooting off at the mouth so comprehensively?
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