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Wg Cdr Rob Caine – New Boss of IV(R)

Rob Caine

Rob Caine

I just wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself as the new Boss of IV Sqn after I took over from Mou on the 6 Jun. My name is Rob Caine and I have previously been the Exec on IV Sqn, so I am in command and doing my refresher simultaneously which is going to be fun!

I am passionate about what the Sqn does and what we achieve for the RAF, RN and UK producing outstanding fighter pilots for the front line and I really look forward to meeting you and getting involved with the association and wider IV Sqn fraternity. For background I have enclosed my bio but please, no laughing.

Best Regards,



Wing Commander Robin Caine is OC IV(R) Sqn and is now responsible for the training of all RAF and RN Fighter Pilots for the front line, using the innovative Hawk T2 at RAF Valley, which is the final test before pilots qualify to fly the Typhoon or F35 the Joint Strike Fighter. 

Robin joined the RAF in 1994 and became an operational pilot on the Tornado in 1999 on 14 Sqn at RAF Bruggen, Germany. Since then he has served several operational tours on Tornado GR4, became a Tactics and Weapons Instructor at 19 Sqn on Hawk T1 and subsequently became a Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI). He became an A2 Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) and the Chief Weapons Instructor at RAF Valley as well as helping the introduction of Hawk T2 into military service. In 2011, he became the XO on IV(R) Sqn, on Hawk T2, where he was an A2 QFI and was responsible for all staff training and standards from first fast jet flight to beyond visual range, swing role missions. He now has over 2500 fast jet hours and is CFS accredited. He was awarded the MBE in 2015 for his services to Military Flying Training in the New Year’s Honours List and he is a graduate of the Joint Services Command and Staff College with an MA from Kings College London.

He enjoys three day eventing, walking his black lab, rugby, running, sport, reading, and travel.

105th Anniversary

This year IV Squadron celebrates its 105th Anniversary. We have had tremendous support for recent reunions, including the 90th (Cottesmore, 2002), the 95th (also Cottesmore, 2007) and of course the 100th (Valley, 2012). This time round, however, there is little enthusiasm for a trek to Anglesey, so we should save our energies for the 110th in 2022.

Despite the undoubted success of the Harrier Force Association (HFA), Tony McKeon, Steve Cheeseman and I believe there is still a place for the IV Sqn Association. For one thing, the HFA will not last forever, but IV Sqn will continue to exist as long as there’s a Royal Air Force. For that reason, we should continue to hold reunions, small or large, to mark significant dates.

This time round Tony McKeon has kindly booked the Burghley Park Golf Club, Stamford, for the evening of Saturday 11th November 2017. We envisage an evening beer call with pub-type grub provided (cost TBN). The Association will provide some liquid refreshment to get things started and will partly subsidise the cost of hiring the Golf Club. All Association members, wives and partners are invited.

The cost of the event will depend greatly on how many attend. It will go ahead, even with very small numbers, for the reasons given above, but for our planning purposes and to help to assess the cost of the evening, could you kindly let us know if you are likely or unlikely to attend, by submitting the form below.

More details (costs, dress code etc.) will be provided on and by email nearer the time.

This event is definitely going ahead. Cost will be £15-20 per head, pub grub included, and the Association is going to subsidise temporary membership of the Golf Club for the evening and put on some barrels of beer, wine and soft drinks.

Very best wishes,

Chris, Tony and Steve

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And also:

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And of us would like to play golf on Saturday afternoon.

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Squadron News – March 2017

Hawk T2

Hawk T2

Along with not burning anything down since the January issue, and having achieved a good amount of flying considering the time of year, the Squadron has also graduated the long overdue course 17 (despite their best efforts), a signficant achievement that represents a huge amount of work from everyone at RAF Valley, not least the students themselves. Somehow the course was rewarded with one of the best flying days in a long time to show off to their families in the traditional 6 Ship formation flypast, where even Paul Kiczma managed to stay close to the formation references – his Red Arrows training kicking in at the opportune moment.

Continue reading Sqn News

Arthur Stanley “Pete” Pinnion

From Ken Utton’s Sqn Personalities 1949:

Sqn Ldr ‘Colonel’ Mowatt: Had ditched a Hurricane and hit the bottom before getting out. Was local Town Major in Gutersloh before joining 4. He was killed with Pete Pinnion (Engineering Officer) in an Anson which hit a chimney at Munster when they were going home on leave. I believe he was one of the group who returned to France to dig up the Squadron Silver.

A relative of Pete Pinnion has asked me if anyone has any photos of Pete. If there are any floating around, or if anyone can add any more information on this era, please get in touch.

Pete Collins – Inquest

Bristol Post Report

Squadron News – Jan 2017

Mirage 2000

Mirage 2000

The happy and fun loving members of IV(R) Squadron returned with various wounds of unspecified origin mostly healed after the Christmas break, eager to brave the January storms and return to the air. With silly season completed with just a broken chair, some new carpet and no major visits to A&E in December, the Squadron returned to work with all the keenness of a beaver that recently almost lost his home to an unexpected house fire. The Squadron returns lighter by one exec having waved goodbye to Sqn Ldr Tim Nassif just before Christmas… until his inevitable return. As we all know, no one ever really leaves “The Island”. We are also soon to be freed from the Aryan poster boy that is Stalker who leaves us for DHL, and everyone’s favourite CFS agent, Rich Dennis who is heading to Canada. Our best wishes go to all.

Continue reading Squadron News for January 2017

Royal Navy Reunion – Friday April 21st to Monday 24th

From Mike Crowe:

Many are missing the camaraderie of those who served in the Royal Navy, such as the 8 already found from H.M.S. Raleigh; 23 Entry Benbow Division, 2nd June 1980. And ‘I wish I could relive some of it’; well this can be done in the form of an ‘RN Shipmates Reunion’ to be held over the weekend of Friday April 21st to Monday 24th in the midlands. This includes a Coach Tour over the weekend and of course, a Tot Issue. Wives and partners are welcomed too. No Association or annual subscription, just come and ‘Swing the Lamp’ and find old shipmates.

Contact me for Reunion details, Mike Crowe on or at 7 Heath Road, Lake, Sandown, Isle of Wight. PO36 8PG (A stamp will help the pension if writing to me for Reunion details!)

The next move towards finding your old shipmate is yours. Do it now!

Mike Crowe

Harrier Engineer Annual Reunion


To coincide with HEAR Sieben on 5 March 2017, the Harrier Heritage Centre at RAF Wittering will open its doors at 11.00 for approximately two hours. Ex Harrier Force Engineers and their guests are welcome to visit by first notifying Phil Wilsher no later than 28 February via the HFA website, Facebook, mobile (07971566851) or email ( so that clearance to go on base can be arranged for you. Phil 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!

Were You On The Sqn in November 1993?

From Gareth Burdett:

I would like to contact any Association members who were on IV(AC) Sqn in Nov ’93. An Ops Dir colleague of mine has been approached by a law firm seeking to corroborate the story of a Kurdish asylum seeker, Jamal Obeid Majeid. Jamal claims to have assisted coalition forces in Nov 93 following the crash of ZD432 in N Iraq; specifically, that he recovered the ADR and presented it to the AAIB team – an act for which he allegedly received a punishment beating from pro-Iraqi militia.

To corroborate his story, Jamal has a photograph showing him being awarded a IV(AC) Sqn print in N Iraq by the then OC IV(AC) Sqn (the late Wg Cdr Haward). He also has the print itself, and a letter from the Op PROVIDE COMFORT Military Coordination Centre, signed by the Senior British Military Representative. That letter asks that Jamal ‘be given every assistance in [his] progress and endeavours, having demonstrated [his] friendship and loyalty to MCC and the Western Allies there represented’. We have validated the timeline and details of the crash, together with the ADR’s recovery by unspecified Peshmerga, through the AHB. The photos showing Jamal with Wg Cdr Haward lend credibility to Jamal being the Peshmerga in question.

We would like to be able to introduce Jamal’s lawyers to someone with contemporary knowledge of ZD432’s crash and the post-incident activity. Their hope is simply to get an established and respected figure within the UK to further corroborate Jamal’s story, and hence lend credence to his asylum claim – maybe via a letter to the MP of Jamal’s family.

I do not write this as a serving officer, but as a third party who has taken an interest in this case. I find it frustrating that it is so difficult to reward those who put themselves in harm’s way on behalf of HMG; a view that I am sure is shared by many of your Association’s members.

Please let me know if your require any more information.

Please contact Chris Parker if you can help with this matter.

[20/2/17] Jim Fernie, the pilot of the downed Harrier is now in touch with Gareth. I’ll post the outcome as and when I receive it. CJP

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