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Out of the Blue

Al Holman writes:

Hi Chris,

I wondered if you could publicise the wonderful work that 3 colleagues of mine from my Cranwell days have accomplished.

What was planned over a few beers at a poolside bar in the south of France has been fantastically successful. It was decided to produce a book called “Out Of The Blue” a collection of short stories written by those involved. Issue one was so successful that “Out of the Blue Too” was produced and now “Out of the Blue Three” is being produced for final printing towards the end of 2017. The guys involved have given so much time and effort to this project, which nearly did not get off the ground. Thanks to enormous dedication and persistence the team finally got a company to publish the books and so far they have made over £50,000 for Military charities. The proceeds from book 1 were split between the RAF Benevolent fund and Help the Heroes. Book 2 was split between the RAF, Army and RN/RM benevolent funds.

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue Too

Out of the Blue Too

If you have a story that others will find interesting, or may find amusing, or interesting and amusing, please don’t hesitate to sharpen the pencil or quill and pen a few words. The story doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it does need to be about the RAF. Also it doesn’t need to be about flying so engineers and other trades can put their thinking caps on.

If you think you have a story that would merit being published then please contact Martin Jones at: dimjones@btopenworld.com Martin will decide if your contribution is worthy of being included in the book and will keep you informed.

Please help if you can as all proceeds are being forwarded to such good causes and, who knows, anyone of us may need their help in the future.

Here are the references for books 1 & 2 on Amazon if you want to support the effort. They will make great Christmas presents to anyone with a passion for Military Aviation.

Out Of The Blue

Out Of The Blue Too

Chris I am sure you must have a tale or two that can be published. Like me you probably have a few that can’t!

Kind Regards,

Al

(I’ve got both these books are they are well worth buying and reading!)

Field Deployments by Al Holman

Al Holman has kindly sent me some of his memories of field deployments with the Harrier Force in the 1970’s. Al flew the Harrier GR3/T4 on IV(AC) Sqn at Gutersloh from 1977 to 1980. I arrived on IV in November 1979 and remember sitting in the back of a T4 with Al performing an air test. Actually, I only remember holding on tight as we hedge-hopped across the North German plain…

Anyone who has been a part of the Harrier Force will without doubt have some very fond memories. It was quite a unique world to be part of operating an aircraft that was a fighter and a helicopter rolled into one – well almost!

The most enjoyable times were to be had when “Deploying to the Field” or on some rather soggy occasions “Mud Moving”. I was lucky enough to be around in the early days when we deployed up to 6 times a year. This frequency was reduced in later years as the preparation for such events was quite involved. Nonetheless, sometimes when the Station hooter sounded, maybe for a station exercise or a NATO tactical evaluation, we would deploy the whole shebang with no prior preparation. I remember on one occasion, just slicing the joint of beef, when that loud haunting sound became apparent. As it was a Sunday I said to my wife that it would just be a call out and I should be home again in a couple of hours. How wrong could I be as several days later, having deployed to a field site, and having moved location, we finally arrived back at camp somewhat weary. I rushed home to find the garden full of wives who were clearly making the most of their time without us!

Al Holman - mid-1970's

Al Holman – mid-1970’s

Continue reading Field Deployments by Al Holman

Calling Doug Gordon

Doug,

You sent me a message through the fourfax Contact Form. However, the Contact Form was misconfigured (technology, huh!) and your email address was not included. Please use the contact form again and include your email addresses and I’ll be able to reply.

Sorry, all my fault…

Squadron News – October 2016

With the Anglesey winter nights drawing nearer, happy IV(R) Sqn busy ourselves by fondly recollecting our summer vacation (Bolthole) to St Athan

Hawk T2

Hawk T2

Some will warmly reflect on the long summer flying days and boozy Thursday nights in Cardiff, whilst others shudder at the thought of 9+ hour coach journeys or the steep final turn on the edge of Cardiff ATZ. Most of all, we will remember those carefree days with team cream in charge of the programme (now renamed Snowbass and Clarkmax 3000) and the endless MT plot discussions on WhatsApp.

Read more here

Squadron News – May 2016

RAF Valley’s premier fixed wing flying squadron enter the summer flying season with a plethora of new take off performance figures and a renewed fear of rain, thanks to the ongoing runway resurfacing works. As always most of the squadron’s instructional work continues to be carried out by mighty A-Flt with a total of 4 courses and 21 students, to Synthetic B-Flt’s solitary course and its 6 students.

Low flying

Low flying

We congratulate Course 15 on graduating, with one selected for the Typhoon and 2 given a surprise posting to 100 Sqn… good luck learning to fly again without a HUD and moving map chaps! The other (huge) congratulation goes out to Toby Keeley for his selection to the Red Arrows next year, now all we’ve got to do is try and stop him from constantly talking about it! Seriously, well done Tobes.

More news here

Squadron News – July 2016

2016_07_hawk_three_ship

2016_07_hawk_three_ship

Summer greetings from Happy IV

With the runway resurfacing continuing at pace, the squadron are busy getting ready for the imminent bolthole to St Athan, where we will probably still be at the time of publishing if the runway works over-run (remember – they’re not running late, they just started late!).The planned 4 week deployment will focus on staff training for QFI Cse 11 and further staff skills such as BFM, Advanced Radar and A2 work-ups. At least all the machinery on the air?eld have given the air traf?c controllers the opportunity to finally prove that they are definitely NOT geeks by carefully naming all the various machines after their favourite Transformers character such as Tarmac-atron etc.

More news here

Chas Mudie RIP

Chas Mudie

Chas Mudie

Chas Mudie, whom many of us remember as the USAF exchange pilot on the Sqn from 1979 to 1980, passed away in July. His second wife, Beth, writes:

Dear Friends,
I thought you would like to read the full obituary which was published in the Fallbrook, California local newspaper.
Chas was a very special guy who loved and lived to fly and do things fast – the epitome of a fighter pilot.  He was buried in Arden, North Carolina in July, and there was another memorial service for him in Fallbrook in August.
I know there was some confusion about his wife Beth when I sent the first notice of his death back in July.  In the RAF we knew Chas and “Beth I” and their two daughters April and Dawn. Here is a lovely clarification from wife Beth II, who obviously has a good sense of humour.
Continue reading Chas Mudie RIP

Pete Collins’s Funeral

I just heard the sad news that Pete Collins died in August.

Pete served on 3 Sqn and IV Sqn at Gutersloh on the Harrier GR3 in the 80’s and had many friends on IV. Condolences to Gudrun and the family.

These are the details for COL’s funeral:

Gudrun asks that people who are planning to attend reply with numbers to collinsfamilybse@gmail.com
Funeral Service to celebrate the life of Peter James Collins
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds
IP33 1LS
The service will be followed by a wake at Bury St Edmunds Farmers Club, 10 Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1HQ from 3:30pm-7pm.

*Limited parking is available at the Farmers Club however it is only a short walk from the cathedral. 

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations to SANE mental health charity be made in Peter’s name. Donations can be made online. Please reference Peter Collins in the inspiration box so that all funds will be allocated for medical research. http://www.sane.org.uk/how_you_can_help/donate
Cheques can be sent to Bury St Edmunds Funeralcare, Kings Road, Bury St Edmunds, IP32 7DJ

Those Were The Days

A very handsome pilot at the beginning!

Harrier Boys, Volume 2

Harrier Boys Vol 2

Harrier Boys Vol 2

Harrier Boys, Volume 2: New Technology, New Threats, New Tactics, is now available from the HFA Shop. £18 or £20 signed.

Shell Shock Walk: London 17 September

PTSD Resolution, the charity for forces’ veterans mental health, is organising the first ‘Shell Shock Walk’ in London on Saturday 17th September 2016, from Wandsworth Bridge to Tower Bridge. The walk over 8 miles starts at 13:30 – details are at Eventbrite.

The walk is to highlight the issues of veterans’ mental health resulting from military trauma, and to raise funds for therapy through PTSD Resolution, which provides free treatment through a network of 200 therapists. Some eight out of ten people who are treated report that they require no further treatment, says the charity.
 
On the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, it is important to remember that many soldiers faced more than the threat of enemy fire, says Colonel Tony Gauvain (Retired)
Chairman of PTSD Resolution:
 “Military trauma, then known as shell shock, was little understood and there was no effective treatment available. It not only impacted upon the mental health of these men, but also had serious social and legal consequences.”
 
Just a year before the battle, for example, the British Army declared that men who developed shell shock as a result of a shell explosion would be entitled to wear a special ‘wounded’ rank and receive a pension.
 
In contrast, men who had not been involved in a shell explosion were entitled to nothing and were instead branded as having a ‘defective character’. But such a narrow definition of the causes of shell shock was problematic because the Army often had difficulty in proving which cases were which. This left many soldiers adrift of the help and support they needed.
 
Tragically, many of the victims of Shell Shock were court-martialled during World War One and their diagnosis of shell shock was not considered an admissible defence.
 
Of the 346 executions carried out by the British Army, for example, 266 of these were for ‘desertion.’ Another 18 men were killed for ‘Cowardice,’ 7 for ‘Quitting A Post Without Authority,’ 5 for ‘Disobedience to a Lawful Command,’ and 2 for ‘Casting Away Arms.’ In 2006, the government issued a posthumous pardon to each of these men but, for these men, the damage was already done.
 
The Battle of the Somme created an additional 60,000 casualties of Shell Shock – a figure unmatched by any other battle – and, in its aftermath, the Royal Army Medical Corps was banned from using the term, ‘shell shock.’ While the name disappeared, the condition has lingered and the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme acts as its most potent reminder.
 
Further information: www.ptsdresolution.org
 

Pegasus Club Dinner 2017

From Gary Waterfall:

Forgive my intrusion into your busy lives.  Gary Waterfall here.  As you may know I am chairman of the Harrier Force Association and I have taken on the task of organising the next Pegasus Club Dinner together with Yvonne (my wife), Neil Fraser and Tim Simmons

After the  inaugural Harrier Pegasus Club Dinner , it was suggested by many that we try and hold a Dinner every other year.

For those of you less familiar, the intent is to provide a social occasion for former Harrier pilots, the officers in support without which we would not have been able to be so successful, and of course our wonderful ‘other halves’.

This e-mail seeks to gauge support and to ask you to forward it out to those who were not so fortunate to be able to attend last year.  I fully expect next year’s to be equally successful and be limited in attendance by capacity of the venue – we had in excess of 180 sat down for dinner last year.  The list will work on a 1st come 1st served basis when it opens, which will be 12 months prior to the event.  At that stage I will ask for a deposit to secure your place.

The Details.

When:  Saturday 17 June 2017

Where: Officers Mess RAF Wittering

Time: Probably 1900-2000

Dress: Black Tie

Cost: Up to £60 a head.  Final amount to be decided by Apr 17

Accommodation:  There will be none available at RAF Wittering.

As before, I’m sure many will make a weekend of the event.

Last year we had Golf and cycling available in addition to being able to visit the Harrier Heritage Centre

Action at this stage:

  • Please forward to any of your contacts.  I would rather people get double tapped than miss out.  You will note that you are all BCCs to keep your e-mail private.
  • I would appreciate volunteers to help wi th the Dinner organisation.
  • I would also appreciative volunteers to organise an activity

Many thanks for your time and I will be back in contact mid next month when the list opens and with bank acct details.  I will at that stage accept deposits, payment in full or you could even consider setting up a £10 a month standing order which will pay for 2 in 12 months!

kind regards to all

Gary & the Team

Squadron News – March 2016

Hawk T2

Hawk T2

Forest & Jody

Forest & Jody

More news on this page

New Years’ Honour for Wg Cdr Dan Beard OBE

Author: Flt Lt Rhian Watts

Photos: Cpl Andy Ferguson RAF Valley

Story via the RAF Valley Station magazine

Wg Cdr Dan Beard OBE

Wg Cdr Dan Beard OBE

Wing Commander Dan Beard, formerly OC IV(R) Sqn RAF Valley, has been awarded a OBE in the 2016 New Years Honours List. The award was given for his exceptional commitment as Of?cer Commanding No IV (Reserve) Squadron based at Royal Air Force Valley and his delivery of fast jet training on the new Hawk TMk2 aircraft. He developed a cadre of motivated and inspired instructors and worked to ensure trainee fast jet pilots were trained effectively and ef?ciently whilst raising ?ying and training standards. Described as calm, with intellectual patience and balance, his persistence also ensured a good working relationship with contractors which was vital during his time in command between February 2013 and 2015 and remains crucial today. On the announcement of his award, Wing Commander Beard said “Whilst this came as a total surprise, I am honoured to have been recognised in this way. However, rather than a solo effort, this is a re?ection on all those who have worked long and hard over the last decade in the development of the Hawk TMk2 capability within the UK Military Flying Training System”.

Squadron News – Jan 2016

Hawk T2 Formation

Hawk T2 Formation

 

Dubai Air Show

Dubai Air Show

More news from the Squadron on this page.