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RAFG Harrier Force History

Tim Brandt writes: Some of you may know me as I was a JEngO on IV(AC) Sqn at Gutersloh from 1983-1986. About a year ago, and probably rather foolishly, I started to write a history of the Cold War RAFG Harrier Force. My aim is to document the story of the Harrier Force from the arrival of the Harrier at Wildenrath, until the departure of the last GR3 from Gutersloh in January 1991. The skeleton of the book will be a month-by month-account of the HF, drawn mostly from the F540s for the squadrons, Wildenrath and Gutersloh, with added details from many of the published memoirs and accounts, other records and as many other (printable) anecdotes as I can gather. To this skeleton I’m adding chapters on RAFG, the development of the Harrier, the RAF’s planning and preparation for the HF, the pilots, the Harrier’s roles and weapons, its engineering, ground defence, logistics, Army support (GLOs, Signallers and Sappers, etc).

Sir Richard Johns has been very supportive, as have been many pilots, engineers, suppliers, Rocks and others who have contributed memories and photos of theit time on the HF. The current incarnations of 3(F), IV(AC) and 20 Sqns have also been very helpful although, sadly, the IV(AC) Sqn diaries for most of the period are missing. The National Archives have contributed over 13,000 pages of documents, so far.  I estimate that the book is now about 80 percent complete.

I’m going public now to see if anyone else would like to contribute either anecdotes or photos of the Harrier Force in the 1970s, 1980s or 1990. I would be particularly interested in contacts from the RIC, as there is relatively little information on it, especially up until the early 80s. I do have some specific questions, and I’ll be starting to post these in the hope that someone will be able to help.  

Thank you in advance,
Tim Brandt

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