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Derek Roxberry – Mosquito Pilot

Mosquito Pic from Derek Roxberry
Front row, left to right: Derek Roxberry, not known, Ken Utton, Ian Dick, Sax Saxby, not known, Ace Newman, Chief Ground staff ?, Ernie Holmes, Not known, Chips Hunter, not known, Les De Garos?

From Martin Beard: Derek was on IV from 1947 to 1950 and is still doing well at 98 years old! He would like to fill in the missing names from this Mosquito picture – can anybody help?

Ed: These look like Mosquito FB VI, probably at Celle around 1949.

Dave Walker – Memorial Service

From the Pegasus Club:
Air Marshal (Ret’d) Dr David Walker CB CBE AFC PhD

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday 5 October 2023 at 2pm at St Clement Danes Church, Strand, London WC2R 1DH.

Dress: Serving personnel, Full Ceremonial Day Dress (No1 SD with medals), swords not required; retired military personnel may opt for same, or lounge suit with medals; all others lounge suit, ladies equivalent, medals may be worn.

For the purpose of numbers, all those wishing to attend the Service are kindly requested to email:

reply.memorialservice@gmail.com

by 9 September 2023.

Dave Walker RIP

Dave Walker - Falklands 1983
Dave Walker – Falklands 1983

Received the sad news yesterday of the death of Dave Walker (WAK). Dave achieved fame as a first tourist on the Harrier GR3/T4 at RAF Gütersloh and later went on to become an Air Marshal.

Jet Provost T Mk3 Flight Reference Cards

Does anybody have a copy of the JP3 FRCs? Mike Walker, who runs pilotsnotes.com, is after a copy. Please scan/photo the FRCs and mail to mikeawalker (at) btconnect.com if you can help.

Glenn Edge RIP

Very sad to hear that Glenn passed away at the beginning of November after a long battle with cancer. Commiserations to Carol and the family.

Apologies for the lateness of this news – I am currently in Cape Verde with extremely poor internet access.

Gill W., Carol E. and Glenn E.

Chris Burwell’s New Book

From Chris:

Hi,
Although I never served on IV(AC) Sqn, I did get a Combat Ready Certificate (Attack & Recce) from the Sqn to take part in the Taceval in 1979!
Members of the Association may be interested to know that Grub Street Publishers in London have just released a book on my career in aviation which, amongst other things, covers my training on 233 OCU, a tour on 1(F) Sqn (including the Taceval in the field with IV(AC) Sqn), a Flt Cdr tour on 3(F) Sqn, two detachments commanding the Harrier detachment at Stanley, and Bos’s tour back on 1(F) Sqn. The book is called ‘Nine Lives the Compelling Memoir of a Cold War Harrier Pilot‘.

Please feel free to publicise this on your Association website if you think your members would be interested. I can provide a flyer for the book signing events if you wish to use this – just let me know.
Many thanks.
Chris Burwell

David Ashley RIP

From the Daily Telegraph 9 May 2022:

David Ashley, who has died aged 49 as the result of a flying accident, flew Harrier aircraft on operations over Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming a flying instructor on contract with British Aerospace.

On March 16, Ashley and his Italian co-pilot were carrying out a post-production test flight on a Leonardo M-346 advanced jet trainer aircraft when they were forced to eject over Monte Legnone in the Italian Alps near the town of Lecco. The Italian pilot suffered minor injuries but Ashley did not survive. It was his first flight in the Italian aircraft.

The son of a former RAF pilot, David Alexander Ashley was born on September 14 1972 at Leicester and was educated at Roundhay High School, Leeds. Aged 17, he was awarded a flying scholarship before joining the RAF in August 1992.

After gaining his commission, he trained as a navigator and joined 43 Squadron based at Leuchars in Scotland where it operated the Tornado F 3 in the air defence role.

Ashley began training as a pilot in August 1997, finishing top of his class on the Hawk advanced jet trainer before converting to the Harrier. He joined No 4 Squadron equipped with the Harrier GR 7 and based in Rutland.

During his four years with the squadron, he saw operational service in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In February 2003 he deployed with his squadron to Al Jaber in Kuwait.

Before the conflict broke out, he was detached as the British air liaison officer to a joint USAF/US Army tactical headquarters where he spent the next two months advising the commanders on the capabilities and tasking of the RAF’s Harrier force.

After the defeat of Saddam Hussein, Ashley was one of the first Britons to enter Baghdad.

After returning from Iraq, he flew in numerous international exercises in Alaska, Poland and Norway. He also qualified in September 2004 to fly from the aircraft carrier Invincible. He was a member of the squadron’s formation aerobatic team “Fours Four”.

After training to be a weapons and air tactics instructor, Ashley was posted to No 3 Squadron, operating the upgraded Harrier GR 9. In July 2005 he deployed to Kandahar in Afghanistan where he flew operations in support of British ground forces in Helmand. He returned for a second deployment later in the year.

He later recalled recognising his responsibility when he heard the urgency in the voice of the ground controller over his radio as he was being directed on to targets threatening the troops he was supporting.

In 2008 he took up an exchange appointment with the Royal Canadian Air Force based at Cold Lake in Alberta. He joined No 410 Squadron to fly the CF-18 Hornet as an instructor in air-to-air, and air-to-ground weapons and in combat tactics. His operational experience was of great value and he was able to recommend new developments in tactical weapons training.

He was often called upon to act in an ambassadorial role and was particularly honoured to join the Canadian Prime Minister’s representative and to deliver a brief appreciation at the funeral of the then oldest surviving First World War veteran.

In 2010 he elected to leave the RAF and moved to British Aerospace as a fighter pilot instructor. He joined the company’s training programme in Saudi Arabia teaching pilots of the Royal Saudi Air Force. Based at King Faisal Air Base, he instructed on the British Aerospace Hawk advanced trainer.

After five years in Saudi Arabia, Ashley decided to try his hand in the civilian aviation world in 2017, but a year as a second pilot with a UK airline was sufficient. He missed the action of military flying and he returned to the Middle East, this time to Qatar as a flying instructor with the Qatar Air Force.

In July 2019 he and his student were forced to eject from a Pilatus PC-21 advanced trainer aircraft following a mid-air collision with a second PC-21. He suffered severe injuries to his back, legs and face and took many months to recover.

His legendary fitness and determination overcame his immobility and he was able to resume his many outdoor pursuits, including daily sea swimming. In particular, he excelled at triathlon and during 2021 he achieved a number of notable successes in preparation for future Iron Man competitions. In a recent radio interview, he commented; “activity keeps me sane.”

During his period of recuperation, he and his wife expanded their property development company, Ashley Property Group, based in Poole, with an increasing number of international clients.

He trained as a civilian flying instructor and was intending to compete in aerobatic competitions. In late 2021 he accepted a contract from the Italian defence giant Leonardo to be an instructor on the company’s jet trainer.

Ashley was considered by his colleagues to be a bold, enthusiastic and highly motivated leader and flying instructor. One said of him: “He was someone who epitomised the mantra of live your life to the maximum.”

David Ashley married his wife Heather in 2004. She and their two sons survive him.

David Ashley, born September 14 1972, died March 16 2022

The Falklands Remembered – Old Sarum

From Hugh Sillet:

The Falklands Remembered Tuesday 14 June 2022.
The Directors and Members wish to recognise and reflect with respect on the sacrifices and challenges which were part of the the Conflict. To achieve that a brief and formal Ceremony to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The End of The Falklands War will take place at The Collection on Tuesday 14 June between 11:15 and 15:30. Refreshments will be provided. If a representative from your Association would like to attend this event please let me know and I can send a formal invitation. 
With best wishes, 
Hugh Sillett, Special Events Manager,
The Boscombe Down Aviation Collection, Old Sarum Airfield, Salisbury.
Email:hugh.sillet48@btinternet.com Tel:01722- 323636

Around the World in 800 Days

Karen and I are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, around the world on a yacht! The yacht is an Oyster 56 named Mistral of Portsmouth.

Some people at the beer call asked us about it. I won’t be posting about it again on this website, so if you wish to follow our progress (or lack of it), please check the Mistral blog.

The route starts and ends in the Caribbean so we’ll be sailing across the Atlantic in November.

Then, in January 2023 we set off from St Lucia to the Panama Canal and beyond.

Wish us luck!

IV (AC) Sqn Over the Years Slide Show

Here’s a copy of the slideshow I made for the final beer call in April 2022.

Fourfax – The Final Beer Call

Harrier GR3 Heritage Centre

Well at least we went out in style!

Phil Willsher kindly arranged for the RAF Wittering Heritage Centre to be open before the Beer Call and twenty or so members took advantage to see the bona jets, briefing rooms and course photographs. After that over eighty members and guests attended the Burghley Golf Club for our final beer call. Drinks and a sausage bap were free – the bar was given a limit of £2000 and asked to warn us when we passed £1500.

After last orders we received the final bill: a little over £1000! So more to go to charity.

The bad news is that I had such a good time that I completely forgot to take any photos once I left the Heritage Centre. So please, if you have any photos from the event, send them to me at the usual address.

RAF Wittering Heritage Centre Open on the 22nd

From Phil Willsher:

To coincide with the IV (AC) reunion on 22 April 2022, I will be opening the Harrier Heritage Centre at RAF Wittering on Friday 22 April at 17.00. The visit will be for approximately two hours.
Any member and their guests attending the reunion are welcome to visit, but please notify me no later than 18 April by email (philwillsher@btinternet.com) so I can arrange clearance for you.
I 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.

4 Sqn Final Beer Call – Selected Responses

Chris-
Thanks so much for the update and invitation… damn! Now that travel has lightened up I would have loved to make the trip and spend time with 4 Squadron. We have to improve our transatlantic communication!
We are hosting a Harrier Reunion in New Bern NC the weekend of 23 April and I am committed. Too bad… I’m sure your beer will be much better:)
Take lots of pics and please pass my warm regards to Boss McKeon, Steve Cheeseman and all 4 Squadron members.
Best, Bul

Thanks for the email Chris but I will not be attending as it is our 44th wedding anniversary on that date and we will be on a cruise ship on our way back to Southampton. I am really disappointed to miss the final beer call; it would have been good to see many old friends and “chew the fat”.
All the best, Brian L

Hi Godber,
Despite our borders finally being opened we won’t be able to make the reunion. Say hi to everyone for us and hope you all have a great night.
Cheers, Killer

Hi Chris-
Great to hear from you! I am glad to see the guys are getting together and would so love to join you but I cannot travel in April. I hope it is a memorable occasion and well attended.  Looking forward to some good photos from the event. I think of all “the chaps” often with enormous affection.  Please pass along my fond regards. I hope I have another trip to UK in me but regret not this time.   
All Best, Smokey M

Hi Chris and thanks for the update and info re the beer call. 
Sadly I am unable to attend as I am still in NZ hiding from the plague!! Been here now for 2.5 years but plan to return mid May for about 5 months. Missing the final fourfax do!
Many thanks for all your great work over the years and please pass on my best wishes to all the mates. We are all in good shape and look forward to meeting up with some of the team over the Pegasus weekend in June. 
With best regards, Whitney G

Continue reading 4 Sqn Final Beer Call — Selected Responses

IV Squadron Association – Final Beer Call

I have today sent this email to all registered users. If you haven’t received it, please send an email to me – chris@f***f**.co.uk with your intentions.

Thanks!

——————————————————

As we announced last year, the Association is discontinuing physical meet-ups and reunions until such time as IV Sqn wants to recommence. Accordingly, we are going to hold a final beer call and distribute the remaining funds to good causes.

With COVID restrictions finally lifting, here are the details of the final IV Squadron Association function:

Date: Friday 22 April 2022
Time: 1800 hrs onward
LocationBurghley Park Golf Club, Stamford
Food: Sausage and/or bacon baps
Cost: Drinks will be free (beer and soft drinks, not spirits) until the money runs out – we do not expect this to happen before 2100 hrs
Dress: Smart casual

The last reunion at Burghley Park Golf Club cost £1500 and we charged members £10 each. We are budgeting £2000 towards this event and will not charge an entrance fee for members plus one partner or guest.

So we can give the Golf Club accurate numbers, please reply – by 8 April – to this email to me at chris@f***f**.co.uk with:

1. Yes, I plan to attend solo
2. Yes, I plan to attend with my partner/guest
3. No, I will not be attending.

Many thanks, and see you there!

Chris

Scotland 1990?

I have received this email from Matthew Illsley:

Dear Mr Parker,

I am writing to you to ask if you can help me find any information regarding No. 4 Squadron’s activities in Scotland during August 1990.

I understand that at that time the squadron was based at Gutersloh in Germany and commanded by Malcolm White. However, I have been told that up to 4 of the planes and crews flew low level training missions in Scotland in August of that year.

Do you or any of the members you know remember that period of time and who from No. 4 went to Scotland? Is there anyone I can speak to regarding that period of time and the pilots who flew in the Harriers, please?

I would be happy to call you at your convenience to discuss this matter further, should that be acceptable to you.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can give me.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Illsley

Can anyone remember this exercise or have something in their logbooks? Let me know if you have and I’ll put you in touch with Matthew

Update: Matthew has got back to me with more information:

Dear Mr Parker,

Thank you very much for posting my initial enquiry. If I may, I thought I would add a clarification to see if it would jog people’s memories or allow them to tell me I’m barking up the wrong tree (or just barking).

I am writing to ask if anyone can help me in locating any information about No. 4 Squadron’s activities in Scotland around August 1990. This is a slightly unusual situation, but I will try to explain as briefly as possible.

I am informally assisting Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University in researching a UFO sighting which allegedly occurred near the hamlet of Calvine on 4th August 1990, and I was wondering if the incident is known to anyone within No. 4 Squadron.

According to military sources, the incident began when 2 men drove 13 miles from Pitlochry around sunset (8pm), parked in or near Calvine, and entered a heavily wooded area, likely with the intention of poaching deer. On reaching a fence that separated the trees from some moorland, the men climbed over and instantly became aware of a large, diamond-shaped craft (80-100ft/25-30m in length) hovering silently in the air above them. Afraid, the men immediately leapt back into the woods and hid.

According to an account given by the main witness to an RAF officer, a couple of minutes later, a high-flying Harrier jet overflew the location before going north, and a couple of minutes after that, another Harrier, possibly the same one, came from the north and circled the hovering object a few times at low level before flying off north again. The diamond-shaped craft itself hovered for another couple of minutes before taking off vertically at high speed, again in silence, and the men then went back to their car and returned to Pitlochry.

Crucially, when the jet was circling the craft, 1 of the men had the presence of mind to take 6 colour photos which he later sent, along with the negatives, to the Daily Record newspaper. The paper in turn sent them to the MOD in London. Multiple MOD and RAF personnel have since confirmed both publicly and in private that the photos and negatives were received, and that prints, including poster-sized ones, were made, shared between departments, and studied/measured in great detail by JARIC, which confirmed their authenticity. However, to date, these photos and negatives have never been publicly released or published.

To my understanding, No. 4 Squadron was based at Gutersloh in Germany in 1990 and commanded by Wing Commander Malcolm White. However, the National Archives states that 4 Harriers flew low-level training missions in Scotland in August of that year. In addition, page 36 of the declassified MOD file DEFE-24-1940-1_2 is a ‘defensive’ press briefing dated 14th September 1990. Having been prepared by the Secretariat Air Staff for the Assistant Private Secretary for the Under Secretary of State (Armed Forces), it states: ‘The [Calvine] negatives have been considered by the relevant staffs who have established that the jet aircraft is a Harrier (and also identified a barely visible second aircraft, again probably a Harrier) but have reached no definite conclusion regarding the large object.’ Moreover, page 55 of the declassified MOD file DEFE-31-180-1 is a document from November 1991. In it, whilst, ordering new line drawings to be made of the UFO in the Calvine photos, an unnamed officer wrote: “Task already discussed with Ops 4 Sqn.”

I am hence trying to speak to anyone from No. 4 Squadron who might be able to help identify:

(a) whether (and if so, how) No. 4 Squadron was involved in this matter (Who served in Ops in the early 1990s, for example?),
(b) whether other Harriers were flying in Scotland at that time,
(c) whether anyone in No. 4 Squadron knows the Calvine incident’s true nature and the nature of the diamond-shaped craft,
(d) and whether the identity/identities of the Harrier pilot(s) involved is/are known and can be revealed.

If this story is remotely true, and if pilots and aircraft from No. 4 Squadron were in some way involved, people must surely have spoken of it, perhaps in whispers or over a few beers, at some point in the last 31 years. Therefore, if anyone has any information whatsoever and would be willing to speak to me, I’d be extremely grateful to hear from them. They can speak anonymously or off the record if needs be, and I can call them at their convenience.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Illsley
@IllsleyMatthew on Twitter