2 July 2003 by Chris Parker
In This Issue
Introduction 2003 Association Event – Date Confirmed A Word From The Boss – Home Safely Committee News Association Membership News from Members Obituary – Ray Chapman The Flypast – by Iain Dick The Web Site – What’s There And What’s New Contact FourFax – Who’s Who And How To Contact Them Introduction
It’s nearly three months since the last newsletter – how time flies! The Squadron is now safely home from the Gulf – congratulations to all for a job well done. The Association bought the Squadron a digital camera after the 90th Anniversary last year and the results can now be seen on the web site – lots of great photographs of the Squadron at war. If you haven’t been to the web site lately, drop by, there’s bound to be something there to interest you.
2003 Association Event
The decision has been made on this year’s get-together. With the boss, Andy Suddards, handing over command of IV (AC) Sqn to Andy Offer at the end of October, that seems a suitable moment to celebrate the Sqn’s safe return from war. The function will be held on Friday 24 October in the All-Ranks (aka Rugby) Club at RAF Cottesmore, Rutland. It will be an informal, all ranks function starting at around 5pm and finishing at about 11pm. “Bar” food will be available and some of the drinks will be subsidised by the Association. Further details to follow after the next Committee meeting, but, in the meantime, please note the date in your diaries.
We hope the new AOC 1 Group and ex-IV (AC) Sqn Commander AVM Chris “Boggy” Moran will be able to attend. (Congratulations on your promotion, Chris!)
A Word From The Boss, Wg Cdr Andy Suddards
It is fantastic to be home, with the Sqn in one piece all safe and sound and the strawberries and sunshine of the English summer to look forward to. It was all an amazing experience which none of us will ever forget. It was everything you might expect – exhilarating, hard work and even a little scary at times – and it certainly lived up to expectations. For me the most incredible thing was how fast it all happened, from recce to deployment, training to Southern Watch ops, then start of war to flying missions over Baghdad itself and finally end of war to packing up and recovery home. Three and a bit months from start to finish.
Needless to say, from my point of view, people worked out of their skins to make it all happen. The effort was enormous, across the board setting up ops, eng and accommodation sites, operating 24/7 for an extended period in hot, dusty conditions and stressful conditions then pulling it all down again. What was also fantastic to see was how well the GR7 did once again in ops – extremely serviceable, FOD free and excellent capability with TIALD, Maverick, and particularly the Enhanced Paveway GPS bombs and the Joint Reconnaissance Pods (4 Sqn back in the recce game yet again!). I think we all particularly appreciated the Iraqis deciding to fire their surface-surface missiles at Kuwait rather than Israel, so that we could all get thoroughly acquainted with working and sleeping in NBC kit! Hopefully you will enjoy looking at some of the more personal pictures now that security considerations have eased – the age of the digital camera had definitely arrived for this op!
Our homecoming was everything we all had hoped for. The jets arrived back to be met by the AOC, families and the media in the glorious sunshine, after a night stop in Cyprus (thanks must go to the Reds for our beers on arrival there). The Main Party arrived the following night on the Tristar, thankfully direct to Cottesmore thereby avoiding a long bus journey up from Brize, and everyone then managed to take 3 weeks of well deserved leave.
The future? Naturally, we are in the process of adding a new Chapter to the Sqn History as we speak, updating our wall displays in the Sqn and our History Room, so when you next pop by take a look. The summer and autumn programme is a gentle one – core training at home building up to ‘Trappers’ for the pilots at the end of July; 2 weeks Sqn block leave in August; then what should be a fun NATO exercise in Poland September. The intention is to have a relatively relaxed time in the coming months, the odd social event, not least of which will be this year’s Association event 24 October – a must for your diaries!
The actions from the last meeting had been completed. The Squadron digital camera was being put to good use, the various “thank you” drinks had been well received, and monies had been dispersed to charity.
The web site advert for an expression of interest in ties and tankards had received very little response (one person for a tie). The minimum order for ties was 50 at a price of ?25 each. Given the level of interest, neither the Association nor the Squadron could afford the necessary investment. In addition, the Committee felt that the Association did not have the mechanism to run a Commercial enterprise. Consideration would be given to a purchase of these items prior to the next big event at the 95th.
There was discussion of obtaining prints of the painting Des Davies had done for the Squadron. David Shepherd was also going to produce an official painting to depict the Tornado and Harrier participation in Gulf War II, and this might be worth considering as a print or Squadron Christmas Card. However, financing and sales fall into the same category as already discussed in the previous item. This item could be further discussed at the next meeting.
It was agreed that the next Association event should be on Friday 24th October to coincide with the Change of Command. In view of the Squadron’s significant, valuable and praiseworthy involvement in the war, and the Change of Command we believe there will be significant interest, and our best assessment of numbers is 200-300. The best venue we could suggest for an all-ranks party of this size is the All-Ranks Club that was used for the 90th Anniversary. Further details, including costs, will be discussed at the next meeting, provisionally set for 16 July.
Membership presently stands at 571. I’m sure we all agree that to go from 0 to 571 in a little under two years is a wonderful achievement. Please let me know if your email address changes – thirty or forty newsletters are rejected each time because the addresses have been cancelled. Those of you using Hotmail accounts should be aware that they automatically expire after 30 days of inactivity. If you are an infrequent user of the internet you might consider an alternative free dial-up account with www.freeserve.co.uk or www.virgin.net, for example.
Please keep me informed with your postings, promotions and family news so I can keep the database up-to-date and pass your news on. I know some of you have asked me to keep your email address confidential. Be aware, of course, that if I don’t include your email address on the web site then your friends and ex-colleagues won’t be able to get in contact with you. And I may be pushing my luck a little here, but so far I have had no complaints of outside agencies getting hold of our addresses and using them for spam – long may it continue.
News From Members
** From Brian Meadley (Apr 63-Apr 66): Very many thanks for the latest news letter which I greatly enjoyed. About the non members list: Jock Beaton: is at
** From Don Fennessey (Associate Member): Wonderful, Chris. Really enjoyed the bits from the boys in the desert. Naturally, being biased and cheering on our Navy carriers guys – and with good reason – I wasn’t sure who from the RAF was there. Obviously we are in good hands. Looking forward to the next one. Keep up the great work – 3(F) website just can’t compare.
** From Simon Ashworth (Jun 95-Aug 96): Thanks for the newsletter. It was great to hear the news from Sudds and the boys (and I guess, maybe even girls now!) in the Middle East. I am still working on the Hawk LIF in the RAAF, based at RAAF Williamtown (2hrs Nth of Sydney). I start my F/A-18 OCU in June and look forward to organising the first GR7(9)/FA-18 exchange! Anyone up for it?
** From Jock Heron (Oct 72-Oct 75): It’s good to read of the squadron’s ops in the Gulf and in due course I look forward to hearing the good words from those who were there! Perhaps I’ll see some of Four’s Finest at the RIAT at Fairford, subject of course to the base’s operational commitments! As aye, Jock
** From Jarrod Cotter (87-89): Got the newsletter through the other day thanks, good stuff as usual. I was particularly interested in the Boss’s mention of the GR.7s being fitted with recce pods loaned from the Jags. In 1989 we said they shouldn’t have taken the pods away from Harriers!
** From Bill Orme (Jan 84-Jan 87 & Jan 89-Aug 92): Just read the newsletter and was most interested in ‘A Happy 4 Pilots View of the War’. It’s nice to know that the products that we at Raytheon supply to the RAF are giving satisfaction to the ‘Ultimate Customer’. Here at Bedford we were pleased to note that ultra, highly accurate, super-duper, GPS-guided munition, provided the total satisfaction required by those destined to use them – ‘which was nice’.
** From Chas Mudie (Aug 79-Aug 81): Glad to know we (USA) can still depend on the “Brits” to help us out with the world terror groups. I was wishing I could get back into a fighter and go kick some ass myself. How ’bout you ? We now live in the northern part of San Diego county, in California – the most beautiful place on the planet Earth. You need to come visit us here – average temperature (360 days a year) – 74 degrees – never too hot, never too cold – just perfect. Still flying commercial for another 2+ years (if AA holds on that long). Was with a great little company called Reno Air for six years and then AA bought us. It was not a good deal for the Reno pilots – but I won’t bore you with all the details. Someday (?) I hope to make it to one of the reunions – probably after I retire the second time. Check six, Chas (MUD)
** From Bill White (54-57): After registering last year, I have not been in contact with you since I returned to Australia. Last July I had to return to UK to arrange disposal of a property I have in Bourne , Lincs. ( First time visiting since arriving in Oz in 1986.) The visit was scheduled to last approx 4 weeks and the 28th Sept reunion appeared to be at least another month after I was to return to Oz. However, things didn’t go well and I was forced to stay well after that date, in fact I didn’t get back until 1st December last. To remain in UK I had to take on a temporary job. Fortunate for me as I am now 67 and past retirement age. I would love to have attended the do at Cottesmore but as a pensioner I just could not afford to go. I could not even afford suitable clothes or transport let alone the cost of holding up ones head. I think you will understand my position at the time.
Anyway, I was a member of Shiny 4 at Jever (1954-57) serving under firstly S/L Glipin and then S/L Chapman (what a gentleman). Henry (H.B. Iles) was A flight leader and I still have several photographs of all members and aircraft of that era in my possession. Happy days. I now design and build ultralight aircraft for my own use here. All Rotax powered single or 2 seat versions with many hours flying low and slow around Victoria. I attend many functions (fly-ins) attend the major airshows such as Avalon Airshows Downunder and scored a few mentions with the ultralight fraternity. As a fairly prominent member of the Australian Ultralight Federation I come under quite a bit of flak being a” bloody pom” as most of the fellow members were formerly RAAF which I interpreted as being the Royal Artificial Air Force. I use the term Real Air Force here just to wind the b******s a bit. It would have been and still is, my dream to display a 4 Squadron patch on my flying suit just to keep the kettle on the boil and by not attending the reunion I feel I missed my chance. Besides, the sentimental feelings remain strong despite serving on 63 Squadron on repat from Jever to Waterbeach. By the way, other members may recall me as “STYX”.
** From John Wickham (86-89): Placed a note on the Sqn notice board, if anyone wants a cheap holiday, I have a 2 bedroomed flat which will accommodate 3 easily, and they are welcome to use me as a base. Any singlies are welcome too, or even any old sweats who were here when Sharjah was part of the MEAF (Middle East Air Force). Where I am working has a website if anyone wishes to view before they come:
The Flypast – by Iain Dick
In 1949 No. IV Squadron was chosen to take part in the Battle of Britain flypast over London – the last time the Mosquito FB VI was to participate in any ceremonial occasion before they were phased out. Eight aircraft were required to fly in two boxes of four – but we only had seven! The eighth had been appropriated by the then Station Commander at Wahn who had had the thing painted silver, the guns removed and the navigation fit changed from the ‘Gee’ that the rest carried, to ‘Oboe’. In consequence, we had to borrow an aircraft from No. 11 Squadron, the only other outfit with FB VIs. Naturally they lent us their most clapped out model…
The Boss decided that we had better tart up our aging machines and make them look reasonably presentable. At that time, out on the Continent, there were no such things as ‘Aircraft Finishers’ down at the sharp end so we said that we would do it ourselves. The colour scheme at the time was as follows: all upper surfaces and the fuselage down to mid-diameter were painted matt battleship grey and everything below that was matt black.
Paint was ‘found’ in all sorts of corners, black and white only, so for each aircraft a fresh mix was made to achieve the grey. Unfortunately, the mixes were not consistent especially when we got round to ‘D Dog’, the last one, as we were running out of black. Consequently when lined up, the colour schemes were certainly seen to vary with ‘D Dog’ a much paler shade of pale!
Finally, the spinners and Squadron letters were painted in high gloss Royal Blue with the Squadron letters outlined in yellow. They did look rather smart. The borrowed 11 Squadron one was left in its rather tatty black and grey with black spinners and plain white Squadron letters – we hoped no one would notice… We flew from our base at Wahn to West Malling and, on landing while we waited for Customs clearance, I, as Squadron Adjutant, was detailed to fly to Manston to change the currency from BAFVS to sterling. On my return I found the Customs almost dismantling our aircraft! Upon being assured that no one carried any contraband, the Customs operator had found something dutiable so off he went with screw driver and spanner! It was the aircraft of ‘B’ Flight Commander, Flt Lt Ernie Holmes, our tame Canadian, that he concentrated on but in the end Ernie managed to convince him that he personally was totally innocent! It was a most pleasant detachment, on return from which we flew to Celle, our new base.
I recently received the sad news that Ray Chapman passed away in December. Ray was the Squadron Commander from October 1955 to October 1957 when the Sqn was flying Hunters at Jever. After leaving the Sqn Ray became Station Commander at RAF Woodvale and later held several positions in Transport Command before finally retiring in 1971. I know many of his contemporaries held him in high regard and I feel privileged to have met Ray at the 90th Anniversary Reunion last year.