Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Avro Shackleton's and other aircraft as crewed by my late Grandfather

Before moving on to the Shackleton Grandad was sent to 236 OCU at RAF Kinloss so as to get used to the Shackleton and its systems. He crewed many "Shacks" while at Kinloss but the most he crewed was VP293 U "Uncle" an MR.1  He would meet VP293 again while with 206 Sqdn. After Kinloss he was back on Malta and back on Lancs until 38 Sqdn received their Shackleton's in 1953. The first Shackleton he crewed was WL787 S "Sugar" as seen below. Incidentally my Grandad's duty on Shackleton's was signaller/observer.

As well as WL787 he crewed many other "Shacks" as well as a few Lancs which were still on strength. The last entry in his logbook of crewing a Lanc was on December 14, 1953 which was Lancaster GR.3 RF313 Y "York". Also during December he was a passenger in a Vickers Valetta from Llandow in Wales to Aldergrove in Ireland (returning the same day). For the rest of the time on Malta he was crewing various Shacks on a variety of tasks such as low-level bombing exercise, navigation exercises, instrument rating tests and continuation training. In February, 1954 Shackleton MR.2 WL797 W "Whiskey" took part in fighter affiliation and live firing exercises. One thing he didn't like was "circuits and bumps" as he found them boring. In May, 1954 Grandad took part in formation flying over the Royal Yacht "Britannia" when  the Queen visited the Island in 1954, while the Queen was visiting Grandad was in an S.55 Helicopter doing an SAR demonstration for her and other dignitaries. 
In December, 1954 Granddad was posted back to the UK and to 206 Sqdn at St.Eval in Devon, and back on Shackletons but this time the MR.1, and where he again met up with VP293 this time coded A "Apple". While with 206 he took part in Operation "Grapple" Britain's Hydrogen bomb tests in the Malden and Christmas Islands in the Central Pacific with Shackleton WG529 F "Freddie".. Their job was to provide security of the exclusion zone. After "Grapple" the crew did a tour of the Pcific and bringing back many items which also included a Grass skirt for my Grandmother. In August, 1956 they were back in the UK and back to normal duties. While with 206 Sqdn Granddad also took part in an exercise with him as Signaler in Avro Anson Mk.21 VV260. In February, 1957 Granddad went to Culdrose and the Armament Trials and Development Unit crewing Bristol Brigand TF.1 RH747 (as seen below) and Avro Shackleton MR.3 WR971 Q "Queenie".

Avro Shackleton MR.3 WR971 as stored at Fenland Aviation Museum in Norfolk. Photo credit: Benn George.

From 1957 to 1969 there is a big gap in Grandad's career. We know he was in Germany in the late 1950's but not sure in what capacity. But following on in 1969 he went to 618 Gliding School at West Malling and was there until 1971. 

Below are images of all that exists of VP293 "Zebedee" taken by my good friend Mr Colin Lount 

And a shot of VP293 coded as a A "Apple" when with 206 Sqdn Photo Credit: Aaron Hiscock.

Below are photos from the family collection. These were either taken by Granddad or by my late Dad. 

Avro Shackleton MR.1 VP262 A-D of 120 Sqdn

Avro Shackleton MR.2 WG555 RAE at Farnborough

Above and Below Avro Shackleton AEW.2 WL747

Avro Shackleton AEW.2 WR963

Below are some images taken by my Grandfather while on Shackleton's

After leaving the RAF as a Warrant Officer, and becoming a Civil Servant (serving his country in another way), he was in instructor in the ATC (Air Training Corps) as a Gliding Instructor with 618 Gliding School at RAF West Malling. 
My Grandfather passed away on August 31, 1992 at the age of 72. 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Avro Lancaster GR.3 SW336 38 Sqdn

Pictured below is a Lanc my Grandfather crewed while he was on 38 Sqdn at Luqa in Malta during the early 1950's. SW336 V "Victor" was one of 47 Lancaster's ordered from A.V.Roe at Yeadon (Leeds). And were powered by Merlin 224 engines (which were Packard built Merlin 24's). These Lancs also featured Lincoln type undercarriage, wheels and tail fins.

Avro Lancaster GR.3 SW336 of 38 Sqdn over Luqa, Malta. If you look carefully you can see the attachment for the airborne lifeboat.
SW336 was sold for scrap to British Aluminium in July, 1956. Also below I've added the log book entries which relate to SW336.

After crewing SW336, my Grandfather crewed another Lanc coded V, this time RF308, which suffered an accident while on strength with 37 Sqdn, who shared the airframe with 38 Sqdn on Luqa. Her undercarriage collapsed after she swung on take-off. 

As can be seen above. My Grandfather crewed RF308 on only one occasion before her accident. RF308 was one of 370 Lancs built by Armstrong-Whitworth. These were also powered by Merlin 224's, and featured Lincoln type tail fins. 

38 Sqdn badge and Motto Ante Lucem which means Before the Dawn
My late Grandfather