Expand all | Collapse all

Chris’s Daily Photo

Subscribe to:

FourFax Stats

  • Total Stats
    • 338 Posts
    • 49 Comment Posters
    • 28 Links
    • 7 Post Categories
    • 4 Link Categories


Wg Cdr Anthony J ‘Bugs’ Bendell OBE AFC

From Al Pollock:

Many will already have heard from other sources of our sad loss of Bugs Bendell.

Bugs Bendell

Bugs Bendell

Because of the rather special sortie link I had with Bugs in 1958 I am sending this out with a rapid career summary at the attachment, mainly cobbled from his book.

Wg Cdr Anthony J ‘Bugs’ Bendell OBE AFC 30 Mar 1936 – 30 Dec 2016

Comm’d 3 Mar 54 Wg Cdr 1 Jul 74 Ret’d 19 Jun 87

A good number have already heard the details of Bugs’s funeral & the celebration of his life, which are as follows:

The funeral will take place on Thursday, 19th January at 12 noon at Amersham Crematorium in the Milton Chapel. The Chapel doors will be open from 1130 to enable you to wait inside until the service. Afterwards at the Officers’ Mess, Air Command, RAF High Wycombe.

We all owe much to Jules (Juliet), Mrs J Bendell, whose family support given to Bugs during his courageous life with Multiple Sclerosis has been so outstanding (and here too a tribute too for the two Star and Garter homes).

We all share our admiration for Bugs’s courage and that of Jules, as their matched ‘never in anger’ response to their long later predicament. The Bugs we knew, both before and after developing MS, will be sorely missed.

Bugs was trained in Canada on Harvards and T-33 after his enthusiasm for flying was kindled at Totnes Grammar School, its ATC and also a Tiger Moth flying scholarship, a background which made him determined to join up and not stay at Wellworthy’s in engineering. From RCAF Moose Jaw for Harvards (best student pilot award) – Jim Edwards was also there too & Ralph ‘Ces’ Poole – they then went on to RCAF Gimli (18 SFTS in WW2), Manitoba, near Lake Winnipeg, as AFS on the T-33 Silver Star. After 12 Hunter course he went to 67 Sqn (F Mk 4s) at Brüggen, which would be rapidly disbanded, post-Sandy’s Axe, in April 1957.Bugs was posted up to Jever on 4(AC) Sqn F Mk6s. At tourex, Bugs joined 66 (F) Sqn at Acklington with Peter Bairsto and then Peter Pledger as OCs, with 66 disbanding on 30 Sep 60. AFDS & Lightnings followed as a Flt Cdr on 111(F) at Wattisham, with their F1As arriving in March, 1961. When display flying during that summer, after BofB on 20th September 1962 came the well known ‘600+ knots or so’ very low Bugsy flypast at Wattisham for some College of Air Warfare visitors . . . . ‘low ambient temps & therefore low speed of sound’ etc Bugs pleaded. [While at it though . . . . Could none of the Lightning or Phantom guys not have imitated the little known Hunter (part of it jollyy well could be supersonic in level flight!) similar trick when you could get quite a respectable sonic boomlet from the airbrake Hunter test switch applied at c.590kts & without any unreasonable trim change even at v. low level (full airbrake was definitely Not advised)? It was not that easy to aim it, as hitting the A/B test switch to plant the boomlet at exactly the right place & time at low level was not that easy . . . but this A/B mini-boom never ever shattered windows). Bugsy’s exploit was to leave some interesting damage to (a) lift OC Ops’ pre-fab roof with him also whie-spattered (b) leave Local Control as a shambles with 6 double plate glass windows shattered (c) an ex-WW2 Met man ‘never more frightened’ & (d) 41 Sqn’s line hut structurally altered as well. A senior Army officer visiting was heard to remark that ‘I must say, when the RAF put on a show, they certainly don’t spare any expense!’ A full round of apologies to the stn hierarchy had to follow, culminating afterwards with a final formal interview with the Stn Cdr, Gp Capt David Simmonds, who first harangued Bugs and told him that he had to report to the Air Ministry the very next morning! However the Stn Cdr ended up laughing at Bugs’s deep shock and protests – the nice touch was that DS then, with much laughter, said that this visit was actually for him to hear, for the first time, of his USAF exchange posting tour to Nellis AFB on F-105Ds! Tim Barrett was already over there too at the Fighter Weapons School but on F-100s.

Continue reading Wg Cdr Anthony J ‘Bugs’ Bendell OBE AFC

Squadron News – Dec 2016

Hawk T2

Hawk T2

Summer arrives at IV Sqn just in time for Night flying. The unusually pleasant weather on Anglesey has led to a very productive couple of months for IV Sqn. This has meant we have been able to catch up on some of the student flying, which was almost stopped during bolthole. All this flying has caused the Creamies to build up a bit of a thirst and motivated them to rejuvenate the Squadron bar (renamed “Bar de la Creme”). Clarky and Bassy have managed to create a very popular little venture which is policed by Lynchy, his already badly scarred face is enough to scare off any would be trouble maker. The new bar was put through its paces when one of our resident USMC pilots invited his previous Squadron over and we were immersed in Ooh Rah’s and very tight haircuts for a couple of successful days building relations/spinning dits.

Read more

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: 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,


(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


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



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
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.
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:

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