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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 24th Apr 2008, 10:38
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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There's a complete different set of people with 'Wessex' nostalgia - the people picked up from various mountains & so on by the SAR machines. Think there is also a rather nice print of one in the lounge bar in the Nevis Bank in Fort William, from the Mountain Rescue connection I presume.

Thankfully I've managed to avoid needing SAR so far, long may it continue.
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 11:37
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Ahhh the Wezzie 5 (Faces have been changed to protect the innocent)


Last edited by cyclic gal; 24th Apr 2008 at 11:45. Reason: spelin
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 17:47
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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They are even a feature on an underwater theme park:

http://www.ndac.co.uk/attractions.htm

I flew the one pictured under button 6 and flew in the one used for BDA under button 12, albeit the index is the wrong way round !
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 18:44
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A Agincourt,

You don't mean the one on HMS Bulwark in 1968 off Cyprus do you? We were re-embarking the Commando and I was about 3 aircraft behind Dave Dixon, both of us with 105mm pack howitzers underslung. Dave had one engine runaway up and the overspeed trip governor shut it down, just as he was coming to the hover over the deck. He managed to jettison the howitzer and land forward of it on the remaining engine (he was a very skilful pilot even then with his few hours), but it went into ground resonance, the main rotor head came off and killed one bootneck colour sergeant of the deck party, before it hit the side of the bridge and disappeared over the side. Dave and the crewman were unharmed and I think it was later that day, or early the next he was sent off to do DLPs just to restore his confidence.


I remember some other amusing incidents in the Wessex too. I was flying Wessex 2's on exchange to the Crabs in Northern Ireland in 1969 - 1971 and one day one of my passengers was the comedian Ken Dodd, who was out performing for the troops. We had put the VIP seats in the back for him and the MALM (whose name I sadly forget now) was decked in a white mess waiter's jacket was trying to impress by serving him coffee and Rich Tea biscuits. Unfortunately the weather was lousy and we hit some turbulence just as he had left his seat to serve the coffee. He put out his hand to steady himself and the next thing I heard was a whoooooooosh over the intercom and I could get no reply. I looked out of my window to see the MALM who was fortunately wearing his monkey harness dangling about a foot below the aircraft cabin step . He'd jettisoned the door because it was the jettison handle he'd used to steady himself. I landed, recovered the MALM and the door, but we never found his spectacles! Ken Dodd was practically wetting himself with giggling because he thought the whole thing had been staged just for his amusement .

Some years later, embarked on HMS Hermes with 42 Commando, on mud-marining duties I noticed that the tail of one of the Red Dragon Wessex flown by Prince Charles had been tied down to a ring-bolt on one of the flight deck lifts and that one Jolly Jack was about to take the lift down, not having noticed. I tried to shout a warning but, helas, too late as the lift descended and ripped the tail off the Wessex - oops

Happy days and amazing that we were let loose to do so much with so little experience. My first experience of mass night formation flying was when we had experimental beta lights fitted to the upper part of the tip caps and another line of them down the top of the tail boom. We had up to 8 aircraft in close formation as we desperately tried not to have a collision or change the colour of our boxer shorts - all with about 300 - 500 hours total flying experience
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 19:32
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A Agincourt, I think Soggy boxers is correct. There was a tale about a deck member being hit by a blade and decapitated. The story goes that the deck was cleared and a bunch of Bootnecks were sent up with bin-bags to pick up the pieces. I shall enquire from the oracles; some of them are still alive, and some can remember what they had for dinner 40 years ago, but not where they live now.

Cyclic Gals image of a door gunner shows the second scariest beast known to man. An aircrewman with a gun. The most dangerous is an officer with a map.

May I enquire if there are any members on here who were based at Culdrose flying Wessex 5s in 1971?

I was the recipient of a 15' drop when the driver failed to compensate for the sudden decrease in weight as a stick of Booties left his machine during Eagle Flights at Goonhilly, we should have been at 6'. May I congratulate the itinerant pilot for the agony and lack of mobility which I have endured for the past 37 years. I have a vivid memory of the crewman looking down at my prostrate form telling his boss, "We broke one." Yes you did. Own up you bastard!!!!
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 19:38
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Reminds me of the time we were moving the Bessbrook Regiment up to Aldergrove for their flights home at the end of their tour (Queens Lancs I think). The RSM was absolutely terrified of flying and begged us not to give him a hard time on the flight. As we manned up the Left hand seat pilot put his feet up on the dashboard so the RSM could see only the legs of the RH Seat pilot as he looked nervously around the cabin.

Once airborne I summoned the second crewman who appeared from behind the tail cone curtain with a tea towel over his arm, silver tray, glasses and a bottle of Scotlands finest.

The RSM was well impressed, if not a little surprised at the wee dram to calm his shattered nerves. That was until I invited the right hand seat pilot down into the cabin leaving, as the RSM thought, no-one in the cockpit.

If you're reading this RSM, hope you're feeling better
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 19:42
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soggyboxers:
A Agincourt, You don't mean the one on HMS Bulwark in 1968 off Cyprus do you? We were re-embarking the Commando and I was about 3 aircraft behind Dave Dixon, both of us with 105mm pack howitzers underslung. Dave had one engine runaway up and the overspeed trip governor shut it down, just as he was coming to the hover over the deck. He managed to jettison the howitzer and land forward of it on the remaining engine (he was a very skilful pilot even then with his few hours), but it went into ground resonance, the main rotor head came off and killed one bootneck colour sergeant of the deck party, before it hit the side of the bridge and disappeared over the side. Dave and the crewman were unharmed and I think it was later that day, or early the next he was sent off to do DLPs just to restore his confidence.
Thank you, yes that is indeed the incident. I was a passenger in the rear of another aircraft later that morning. We arrived and were met by many glum faces but nobody informed of the incident. I was told a brief outline later.

I think you got the date wrong possibly, I remember it to be in the year 69 but it was a long time ago.

The Beta lights were a favourite gizzit for light fingered pax. Made brilliant map reading tools so I am informed.

I once met a strange bloke in the Thetford area who was to be blunt, a bit of a 'spotter' naw that's too light - he was a manic spotter and he told me that he had a photograph album containing a photo of every Wessex that had been in service. As the story goes, he used to loiter around the military training area in his free time and on one occasion presented the album for inspection to a Sqn Leader from NI. Co-incidentally, this was about the time of a big anniversary?? He told me that he was invited over for the celebrations - by air! But as I say, he was a manic spotter but it would be interesting to know if there was any truth in his claim.

Bes Wishes
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 19:47
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Bootneck :

Agincourt, I think Soggy boxers is correct. There was a tale about a deck member being hit by a blade and decapitated. The story goes that the deck was cleared and a bunch of Bootnecks were sent up with bin-bags to pick up the pieces. I shall enquire from the oracles; some of them are still alive, and some can remember what they had for dinner 40 years ago, but not where they live now.
I heard that there was a decapitation and that the whole mess had been shoved over the side. But I was given little info.

Best Wishes
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 20:11
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The Beta lights were a favourite gizzit for light fingered pax. Made brilliant map reading tools so I am informed.


That Sir is a terrible slur on the traditions and evil doings of a fine body of light fingered and incorrigible rogues.
I rest my case and weekend grip (Wanna buy 47 gallons of WD40?).
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 20:56
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AA,

You may be right about the year - I had so many trips to Cyprus on the old Rusty B during my first tour with 845. Plus many years of food cooked in aluminium saucepans in Africa tend to have an effect on something over the somethings.......

Bootneck,

It's no tale. Colours was decapitated diagonally as the entire rotor system came off when the main rotor mast sheared off. It hit him and took off one arm and his head before it went over the side. You're quite right about a party of bootnecks collecting all the parts of bodies they could find in bin bags.
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 22:17
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Nice pic. of XR522/071 of the UAF on www.xairforces.com ;gallery,p7.
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 22:23
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Lzcutter

How is Brecon these days? I have not been there since 84, I keep saying im going back to walk the Pen-Y-Fan or the Fan-dance as we used to call it!( although i dont think i will be dancing over it these days!)
Haha, it's still the Fan-dance, and no I don't think anyone's really in much of a state to dance after they've just got to the top!
Brecon's OK. There're a lot of worse places to live I guess! Was up in the mountains a few nights back... on Fan Fawr, the opposite side of the A470 and Storey Arms to Pen y fan. Wandering by the trig point minding my own business when I almost trip over a tent and have some forces guy shine a torch smack bang in my face. About gave me a heart attack!

Go for it some day, the walk! Just don't pick a bank holiday, it's like a small motorway!
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Old 25th Apr 2008, 08:21
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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Soggy, apologies, I used the word 'tale' incorrectly. The accident is well known as it was used as a classic method of engendering knowledge and safety issues in the minds () of new Bootnecks when introduced to flying machines. Of course it became a bit of folklore and was embellished etc. Thanks for clarifying the history, some of the guys I'm in touch with remember it.


Now, which one of you booogers was flogging the Wessex that broke me?
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Old 25th Apr 2008, 08:28
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IOAN: nice piccies. Shame to see such a nice Wessy 3 in the wrong colours though, however the cockpit looks in better condition that when in service !

As regards to WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE WESSEX NOW ?

There's quite a few listed on demobbed.org if you want a logbook check, unfortunately some very sad sights in the fire pits of the Lizard peninisular etc:

http://www.demobbed.org.uk/aircraft.php?type=1184
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Old 25th Apr 2008, 11:57
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fish

Pity the diving centre mixed up the 3 and the 5

XT770 used to be left in standard green with ROYAL NAVY decals in the Shawell paint ball park.

Someone subsequently vandalised it. Yuk

Favourite Wessy quote:

As we slid across a field in NI towards a large tree, trying to recover from a too fast downwind running landing, I asked a certain well known bootneck what the fack he was doing. succinct answer:

'crashin'

The backwards taxying to escape from under the branches was equally entertaining.
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Old 25th Apr 2008, 13:57
  #76 (permalink)  
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There's a 5 in Smiths' scrappies yard at Brightwell-cum-Sotwell (close to the secret Oxon heli base). I've offered him money for it, but unfortunately Mrs A-A offered him more, if he kept it. Seems she didn't want a large, green garden ornament
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Old 25th Apr 2008, 19:33
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I had a reply from an ancient Bootneck about the Wessex crash on Hermes. It's wonderful how the web can be used to inform people about incidents from so long ago which have become folklore.

I remember an accident which occurred in June or July 1969 when 41 were embarked on HMS Bulwark for exercises in the Med. We were out there from April to September that year.
We were on a beach near Larnaca, Cyprus, waiting to be taken back to the ship by landing craft after an exercise, when we were told that a Wessex Mk5 had crash landed on the flight deck and that there would be a delay before we could re-embark.
We could see the wreckage from the beach as the ship wasn't too far off the coast. I think I might have a 35mm slide somewhere, taken distantly from the beach, of the incident.
When we got back to the ship we learned that one of the Royal Navy flight deck personnel had been killed by flying rotor blades debris, and a pal of mine, Sharky Ward (Armourer), had narrowly avoided the same fate. He had seen the whole thing and was badly shocked.
It appeared that the Wessex had suddenly lost power and crashed very heavily onto the flight deck. The rotor blades hit the deck and flew in all directions apparently. I don't know if it was lifting, or had lifted, anything at the time.
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Old 26th Apr 2008, 08:18
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Ioan

Im going to the the endurance one more time, I plan to take three days, take some kit and enjoy it, I once did it in 18hrs 22mins and most of it is a blank, the old head down and a.... up !
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Old 2nd May 2008, 20:30
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There is a poem in the Officers' Mess at Aldergrove - reprinted below - which sums up a few thoughts about the old girl :

An ‘Ode’ To the Wessex


“The Queen of the Skies”, “A Fine Girl” and all
“A bag of bits welded with glue”
All favourite names for a craft that we call
The Wessex H C, Mark 2

She survives here longer than some of us do
Except aviators who‘re grey
If you try to work out if that includes you
Count from year fifty-seven, in May

She supported troops here since sixty-nine
Flying thousands of soldiers and more
And the latest I heard on the Bosses’ grapevine
Is she stays till two thousand and four
She can carry twelve troops, fifteen I’ve been told
Plus her full compliment of three crew
But much more than that and her rotors will fold
With the left hand seat yelling “Three-two”

She carries the Queen with abundance of care
Though she once caused a major alert
When her rotors blew protocol up in the air
Along with poor Princess Di’s skirt

She may not be fast or pretty or slick
And not very adept at gliding
But she isn’t French or made of plastic
And there’s no chance of rotors colliding

Through all types of rain and bad weather she runs
Enemies are often surprised
She survives attacks from missiles and guns
Though wing-overs aren’t well advised

So let us then toast the last of the few
For the Wessex I’d like you to rise
And drink to the stalwart of Seventy-Two
You’re truly “The Queen of the Skies!”
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Old 2nd May 2008, 20:46
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An interesting history on Nanga Gaat operations, here, with a few photos
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