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Sqn News – Jan 2018

New year, new Squadron! (or is it?).



Winter has most definitely arrived, and Happy IV(R) Squadron have returned after the Christmas break full of energy after the disappointing December weather kept all but the most seasoned flight commanders on the ground. Starting as we mean to go on, with more jets on the flight line and even the met office playing ball with a favourable weather system in charge we are all looking forward to a productive year training the next generation of fighter pilots.

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The 4 Sqn Collection

From Jim Sharples:

I would like to introduce myself. Over the years I have been collecting 4 Squadron Items and have now built up a reasonable collection of artefacts, ranging in scale from aircrew equipment to full aircraft.

The current focus of this collection is around any 4 Squadron artefacts dating from World War 2 and up to the end of the Cold War. It is intended to add artefacts from more current conflicts as and when they become available.

With regards to aircraft and cockpit sections, the current interest of the collection is around those that were used by 4 Squadron and produced by Hawker Aircraft/Hawker Siddeley Aircraft.

Unfortunately, the collection is not currently open for public viewing, so I have created a website that serves as the virtual home of the collection, The website has only been live over a week or so and I’ve still got lots of additions to make.

The choice of name for the collection represents what the collection contains, and I must stress, as I do on the website, that I have no affiliation or association with the Royal Air Force or No. 4 Squadron itself. What I do have is a genuine and sincere interest in 4 Squadron and in preserving items relating to it.

Should you ever require anything bringing to an event or reunion, then I will always endeavour to assist where I can.

I may need a little assistance from your excellent site and its members in the future, relating to two pieces of Nose Art, one on the cockpit of XV806 and one on the cockpit XZ131.


James Sharples BA(Hons) MIFireE MIFSM MIIRSM TechIOSH

jim-sharp [at]

Harrier Engineers’ Annual Reunion 2018

To coincide with the “Harrier Engineers’ Annual Reunion 8” at the Green Man pub in Stamford on Saturday 3rd March 2018, Phil Willsher will be arranging to open the Harrier Heritage Centre at RAF Wittering at 11.00 on that day.

Ex Harrier Force members and their guests are welcome to visit the Centre. Please notify him no later than 28th February 2018 on Facebook, mobile (07971 566851) or email (philwillsher [at] so that access to the site can be arranged. The visit will last for about two hours. He will need full names of all visitors along with make, colour and registration of vehicles. If you have never paid the Centre a visit, please try and make it; you won’t be disappointed. Those attending will need to have a means of identification.

Royal Air Force Day at the RAF Museum Hendon

From Malcolm White:

1000 to 1600 on Thursday 10 May 2018

The RAF Museum will host a “Royal Air Force Day” on Thursday 10 May 2018. Held in the Museum’s main and new Exhibition Hall at Hendon, and before the whole site is formally opened to the public in June; it promises to be a splendid day and an opportunity to reflect on the past and catch up with chums, friends and families: a “re-union” not to be missed.

This Day will be part of the RAF 100 Programme of Events for 2018; events which aim to Commemorate, Celebrate and Inspire future generations – and build on Lord Trenchard’s founding principles of training and education excellence, both of which are so relevant today. In support, The Museum would be delighted to welcome those who serve today; those who have retired, and importantly to extend a very warm welcome to family and friends.

Age has no barrier in this, as Primary School Children to Veterans in their 90’s (and a few in between) will be there. So on behalf of all involved may I say that it would be a delight to welcome you to Hendon. I know it’s a working day, but please try and join us if you can – if only for a couple of hours

If you are interested or know of someone who might be, then please register your interest with Anji Patel & Odette Harris at Anji will ensure that you receive full details in early March.

Thank you

Malcolm White Trustee

Royal Air Force Museum Grahame Park Way London NW9 5LL

SatNav NW9 5QW

Where’s This Castle? (Yes, Germany!)


@BAESystemsAir Here’s a challenge for you on a Thursday night, Twitter. Name the castle in this Harrier picture? We’ve tried to find it and come up with nothing. Any ideas? #avgeeks @Frostblade_

Snow Falcon Harriers

From John Wolstenholm:

Hello. Is there any possibility one of your members might be able to help regarding the Snow Falcon Harriers, I and IV squadrons in 2004?

I’m nearing completion of a detailed 1:32 model of one of these GR.7s. Both this picture:

and even more so the one on your site:

seem to show a staining (brown) on the fuselage spine and stbd wing, which at first I thought was caused by the low angle of the sun. Your photo appears to be taken in overcast conditions and the ‘staining’ is even more pronounced.

Thank you for your time and any help you may offer.

[Ed: APU exhaust?]

World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in the Netherlands website

This will be of interest to many historians:

From Jan Nieuwenhuis

Dear Sir, 

Perhaps you’re interested in the following:

On 1 October 2017 my new “World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in the Netherlands & North Sea” (also English Channel) website was launched!

The purpose of the website is to help researchers, family members and any one interested, to search for detailed information about Allied Aircraft Crashes in The Netherlands and North Sea in the Second World War.

Please note that not (yet) all crashes are available in the database, though it is gradually filled with more data… (See “Modifications” button on the website).

At present the database lists the information on 1385 crashed aircraft, 6573 crew members, and 660 cemeteries/memorials…

The address to go to is:

Greetings from Texel island, Holland

Jan (John in English)

A Message from OC IV


Before I hang my flying helmet and gloves for Christmas and 2017, I really wanted to take the time to pen an email to you and the Association. I was acutely aware that the Sqn and I could not attend the get together over the Remembrance Weekend and I was very sad that we could not meet properly. It is my intent to come over and meet the members at the next opportunity and tell them what we are doing on the Sqn, there are many challenges but much to be proud of. We also have RAF100 to look forward to in 2018 – RAF Valley and IV Sqn will be heavily involved including the full RAF Flypast in July in London and then at RIAT.

I am very proud to be Boss of what is now the largest fast jet Squadron in the UK, and by some margin. We have about 100 pilots, staff and student, who are on our book and about a further ten who regularly fly with us and all are doing amazing front line training using cutting edge technology. Indeed we have hosted some very senior people in my short time in the chair including the Prince of Wales, UK and Welsh Assembly Ministers, ACAS as well as several other foreign and UK 1,2 and 3* officers all of whom have been hugely impressed by the professionalism and performance of our people. I am trying to ensure that IV Sqn is rightly regarded as one of the best places in the world to become a fighter pilot – akin to the Oxford or Cambridge of fighter pilot training. I truly believe that the mixture of technology, in the air and on the ground, staff with recent combat experience and a depth of amazing instructional talent, mountainous flying areas and challenging weather, makes RAF Valley and IV Sqn a truly world leading place to work.

However, this week as I left the Sqn one night, I was struck by the Officer Commanding boards and the huge history of IV Sqn and the feats it has achieved over its long and proud service. I was humbled by the turnover of OCs during the World Wars and how much the Sqn did during the intervening years and in the Cold War – especially with the Harrier. I am so proud to be part of that history, a history that you and the Association represent and guard so well. It is with that in mind for 2018 that I look forward to next year and getting together. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at FourFax and here is to a very exciting and successful 2018.

Best Regards

Rob Caine

IV Sqn Hunters

IV Sqn Hunters at Jever

IV Sqn Hunters at Jever
Photo: Ian Black @blickyian

Thanks for the photo, Blacky!

Sqn News – Autumn 2017

IV(R) Sqn Hawk T2

IV(R) Sqn Hawk T2

Winter is coming…or is it? Autumn is upon us and the bleak windy winter of RAF Valley is looming, however with temperatures in the high teens and blue skies today you might be forgiven for thinking of the French Riviera rather than the Anglesey coast…but then again we did have an (ex) hurricane pass through a couple of days ago…

It has been a challenging couple of months for Happy IV(R) Sqn, with a significant electrical fault identified at the start of September leading to a short pause in flying activity, and subsequent rectification work on the aircraft having an effect on the flying rate. With our partners from the engineering side at BAe Systems working especially hard to deliver as many aircraft as possible each day, and contractual work going on in the background to address some potential pinch points in aircraft serviceability, things are starting to recover and improve.

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New Harrier Book – Help Wanted

From the HFA:

Lon Nordeen is an author and former MDC/Boeing marketing manager, now retired, who is working to document the history of the Harrier. Recently a UK publisher came to Lon about a new book which would be focused on the Harrier II. Lon has done 4 books on this topic but is weak on UK contacts.

Lon made a point to try and include a fair and balanced treatment of the international elements of the overall program in his earlier V/STOL Validation book, including the industrial and political elements plus best overview of operational details at the time of print. However for an expanded book, the level of detail for the RAF/RN, Italy and Spain needs to be expanded–with a focus on first person interviews with decision makers, pilots and support personnel. In the first book V/STOL Validation, Lon received lots of support from BAE and RR types, and still has good data from their interviews done in 2003.

Lon hopes you and he can trade e-mails on this topic! Your insights would be appreciated…


  • What was the transition process and experience like going from the GR 3 to 5 to 7 for flying?

  • What did you like about flying the Harrier II? and not really enjoy?

  • Guys who flew and supported Northern Watch out of Turkey 1992-6

  • Operations in Deliberate Force/Allied Force

  • Operations in Telic in Iraq

  • Operations in Afghanistan.

  • Lon would like to talk to RAF and other industry people involved with producing and supporting the GR Mk 5, 7, 9 and RR Pegasus

  • Photos of good quality and technical drawings – Lon would like to secure permission to include in the book to support interviews and text points/messages?

If you can help Lon with this exciting and important endeavor please contact him directly at

Thank you

Hugh Granville-White

Hugh GW

Hugh in front cockpit with F/O Pratt in rear cockpit airborne in a Bristol Fighter while looking for a landing ground near Elstead (Near Farnham) 25 April 1922.

Chris “Hoppy” GW has sent me some details of his father’s career on 4 Sqn in the 1920’s. I’ve created a page in the History section which you can find here.

105th Anniversary Reunion

A small reunion was held to celebrate the 105th anniversary of IV Sqn on 11 November 2017 at the Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford. Many thanks to Tony McKeon for making the arrangements with the Club, Andy KP for arranging the golf and for the Club for making us so welcome.

About fifty members attended and spent a happy evening reminiscing and looking forward to the 110th in 2012!

From Jim:

Hi Chris/Steve Thanks for arranging the excellent reunion last night. Caroline and I throughly enjoyed ourselves and it was good to meet old friends once again and have the time to sit and chat in the comfort of such pleasant surroundings! Please also pass on our thanks to Tony. We look forward to the next do in 5 years’ time and will certainly make the effort to travel to Valley if that ends up being the chosen location. Great to meet the ladies as well and get to know Karen better. Cheers Jim

From Richard:

Hi Chris: Thanks for the good time last evening – a really Bona Party! It was kind of you to be so welcoming to an old engineer! Please pass on to Tony, Che and the boys. All the best, Richard

From Nicky:

Thank you for organising such a lovely evening. It was a great chance to catch up with everyone and I thought the venue was ideal for conversation! I, for one, never underestimate the role of the organisers. Thank you all so much. Cheers, Nicky

From Glenn,

Dear Chris and Tony, Thank you so much for organising a really enjoyable event on Saturday. How you managed to hire the venue, provide an excellent curry and free booze I do not know, but if a further sub is needed please don’t hesitate to call. Please pass on my thanks to Steve as I have lost his contact details. Tony, we hope Kate will soon be well and hopefully we will see you again in the not too distant future. Once again, thank you for your initiative and hard work in providing a great do. Best wishes Glenn and Carol

From Hoppy:

Chris, Thank you for an outstanding evening on Saturday which I thoroughly enjoyed. There were several former colleagues there from my time on 4 Sqn Harriers Wildenrath & Gutersloh which made it a really good reunion for catching up (Tony McK, Syd, Steve, Bruce, Ross, Glenn, Mike W and Jim). Also Pete G from my time with 4 Sqn Hunter FR10s in 1966. Tony McK and I were flight commanders on 4 (he was Flt Cdr Attack and I was Flt Cdr Recce). Then in 1982 I took over from Tony as OR40(RAF) in MoD for the Harrier & Jaguar replacement work. Similarly a decade earlier I had taken over from Pete Gover in HQ 2ATAF in the 2-man international recce ops team at Rheindahlen. I mentioned that my father (Hugh G White) had been on 4 Sqn for a month in 1922. I have copied below my notes on this period based on his photo albums and log books, together with a copy of a letter he wrote in 1966 in answer to a researcher. You are welcome to add any of this to the 4 Sqn website if you think it would fit in. All the best, Hoppy

[Ed: Hugh’s story is now online]

From Mike:

Hi Chris, just a quick email to thank you and the team for organising a splendid evening. It was great to see so many people from my era on the Squadron and find out what they have been doing since. Best wishes, Mike

From Jamie:

Hi Chris, Just a quick thanks for an excellent get-together last Saturday. Great to see so many old (take that word how you like) faces. I thought everyone seemed to be chilled and very much enjoying it; great effort, and only a tenner, too. Enjoying Long Beach at the moment; flew Lionel Ritchie out among others. Sunday afternoon at LHR was typical; slow and late getting away… not ‘easy like Sunday morning…’ Best regards, Jamie PS, I forgot to ask, are you still playing that trombone?

Sqn News – Summer 2017

Royalty, Risk and Runways… What more could you want?

A quiet summer of student sorties and the occasional TacEval (also known as an impromptu party at the house of a Squadron member) or mess function – sounds perfect! Unfortunately not quite what the squadron has had in mind over the last couple of months. Alongside the continual work being put in looking at the potential for a new Squadron at Valley, we have switched runways and switched back again, represented the RAF at several high profile public events and welcomed HRH The Prince of Wales to visit since the last issue. A slow and enjoyable time of settling in to the new job for our illustrious leader, Wg Cdr (Direction & Guidance) Puppy Caine. Or perhaps not.



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HFA Harrier Beers 2017

From the HFA:

Dear HFA Members,

a reminder that this years beer call is at the Lord Burghley pub on Broad Street in Stamford on Friday 1st December. (it’s always the first Friday in December)

Please spread the word.