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Hoppy’s Hunter

Hoppy’s Hunter

At Cottesmore? Photo by Ian Black @BlickyIan

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 […]

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 […]

Those Were The Days

A very handsome pilot at the beginning!

South Atlantic Medal – Qualifying Date Extension

From Andrew Williams:

I see ( that the qualifying date for the South Atlantic Medal (without rosette) is extended from 12 July 1982 to 21 October 1982 “when the airfield at Mount Pleasant was completed.”

A couple of things spring to mind. Whilst I have a comprehensive photographic record of our Autumn ’82 to Spring […]

What’s With the White Stripes?

XZ131 at Gutersloh in 1977. Photo: Spotters Group Gutersloh

Another photo of a GR3 with white stripes. This one is XZ 131 ‘M’ at Gutersloh in 1977.

Does anybody remember why we had the stripes?

Photo from the Spotters Group Gutersloh.


HFA Heritage Visit

Pete Mears, Mike Aynsley and Arfa Hancock visited the HFA Heritage Centre at Wittering last December.

It was a great afternoon out; Mike Aynsley and Arfa Hancock had last seen each other 42 years ago at Wildenrath with XV779 being one of the initial batch of Harriers issued to 4 Sqn. A special thanks also […]

White Camouflage?

Harrier T4 ZB600 ‘R’ 1984

Harrier GR3 ‘P’ 1983

Torsten at has found these photos taken by Markus Jakobsmeier. They were taken in 1983 and 1984. He asks why we had the white colour scheme.

I suggested it might be to do with Exercise Maple Flag 13 which IV(AC) participated […]

Early Seventies Field Ops

Thanks to John Hickie for these photos:


Sqn Ldr Bryan W. Smithers, DFC, 1918-2004

Keith Vaughan (Royal Air Force Photographers’ Association) has written the first part of a career history about Sqn Ldr Bryan W. Smithers, DFC, 1918-2004, whose first posting was to No.IV Sqn, 1939-40. Thirty years later Keith worked closely with him on African aerial survey projects in the air and on the ground.

Included is […]

Ex March Hare 1973

Ex March Hare 1973

Another one from Pete Mears’s archive. “Ahden during Exercise March Hare 1973. The field was so soggy we could only operate one Harrier (XV797) with each sortie consisting of a vertical take-off and landing from the MEXE Pad. The four pilots, Pete Taylor, Jock Heron, Whitney Griffiths and Pete […]

A Yarn from Alan Pollock from 1958: Saving Bugsy Bendell

What? A Hollywood-style formation drama: “Saving Bugsy Bendell”

Where? 40,000ft in a No.IV (AC) Sqn pair from RAF Jever, 2nd Tactical Air Force

When? Second sortie on 28th March, 1958

Why? The Hunter’s pre-modified oxygen masks and connector system

On that memorable day 54 years ago, when flying from RAF Jever, my second sortie of […]

Field Site Debrief

Charlie Davis debriefing Chris Parker on a field deployment c.1980

Thanks Tom Hammond for posting this on Twitter.

Cold War, Hot Jets

From Alan Pollock:

“COLD WAR, HOT JETS” BBC 2 now being screened on FRIDAY, 8th November at 9pm and, one imagines, one week later. The first programme’s focus seems to be on the ‘development of the jet engine’. You may remember that we tried, many moons ago, to marshal whomever we could for the programme […]

Great GR9 Photo

Harrier GR9 by David Chapman

Blogged with the permission of David Chapman, the photographer