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Newsletter 01

FourFax Newsletter # 1 / 26 September 2001

by Chris Parker


Welcome to the first edition of the IV(AC) Squadron Association newsletter.

The aims of the association are to:

  • Put and keep members in touch with each other
  • Publish news from members
  • Publish news from IV(AC) Sqn
  • Distribute an occasional e-mail newsletter

Membership is open to anybody who has ever served on IV (AC) Squadron.

My name is Chris Parker. I was a pilot on IV from 1979 to 1984 at RAF Gutersloh. Some of you will remember that I started FourFax as a newsletter in the early 1990’s. The technology at that time made producing a newsletter a high-workload task, particularly at ‘press’ time. Technology has moved on somewhat since then and I’m hoping that the internet will be able to bring us together in a way that a paper newsletter never could. Also, of course, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep the web site reasonably up-to-date and produce an e-mail newsletter from time to time without having to burn the candle at both ends.

The Committee

We are now in the process of forming an association committee, the immediate aim of which will be to organise a reunion, probably in September 2002, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of IV(AC) Squadron. Tony McKeon, boss of IV at Gutersloh from Aug 1982 to May 1985, has kindly agreed to be the first President of the IV(AC) Squadron Association. Andy Suddards, the present boss of IV, is very supportive of the association and is providing us with, among other things, monthly reports on the activities of the squadron and up-to-date photographs of squadron aircraft.

A Word From “THE BOSS”, Andy Suddards

Welcome to the ‘happy’ 4 Sqn Association newsletter. It is great that the advent of the internet has allowed us to breathe new life our Association. By giving us an easy and cheap means to keep former members of the Sqn informed of the comings and goings of others and provide an overview of what exercises and operations the Sqn is conducting, I am confident that interest in the Association will continue to blossom.

For my part, I am delighted to have taken over command of 4 Sqn. Having served on all of the Harrier Sqns since joining the Harrier Force in 1986, there was definitely a unique atmosphere on the ‘happy’ outfit during my Flt Cdr tour ’93-96 at RAF Laarbruch. This confident laid-back atmosphere seems to endure, which makes 4 Sqn such an enjoyable place to return to. Obviously, it is also fantastic to be flying once again after having spent 4 years in ground jobs (PJHQ Northwood, Joint Staff College and latterly in MOD). Although it is back to the GR7, the new ‘toys’ of TIALD, Maverick, secure radios and ground proximity warning system are signs that progress continues apace and new HOTAS skills needed. The advent of the GR9a gets ever closer too! I am pleased to say that my wife, Sue, is also having a great time at Cottesmore, though having just given birth to our second son, she rightly points out that newborns and night flying do not go well together.

As you can see Chris Parker has done a great job of putting the web site together. Rob Shand, a pilot on the Sqn, has volunteered to assist with coordinating the Association activities with those of the Sqn. We have some ideas of our own for the future, but it is important to remember that the Association is a club for the members run by the members. Offers to assist with developing Association activities are needed if the Association is to flourish –

I hope that some of you will give a little of your time and expertise. Please get in touch with either Chris Parker or Rob Shand. The Sqn email is [private] – but other means are equally valid: phone, fax, radio, snail mail, carrier pigeon, semaphore…

A Word From The President, Tony McKeon

I was honoured and delighted when Wing Commander Andy Suddards – The Boss – invited me to be the first President of the Association. It is my aim, together with the Committee, to generate a vibrant Association that we will all be proud to belong to and happy to take part in.

I am really pleased that Chris Parker has agreed to be the Communications Officer. The first task that Chris and I have set ourselves is to form a committee. In order to be sure of a “quorum” at the meetings (3 or 4 times a year) we have decided that a committee of about 10 would be the right size. In the near future Chris and I will be requesting some of you to join us, and I hope that we will be able to count on your support. We will aim to publish the committee names before Christmas.

I am afraid that communication by Royal Mail is just too expensive for the numbers that we already have – and we hope that number will increase. We will do one last mailshot to the address that we have on record for all those that we are not currently in e-mail contact with. The main purpose of this will be to establish an e-mail address for everyone. We will be asking those not on e-mail to provide us with a family member or friend that we can use for contact by electronic mail.

The first big event we will build towards is the 90th Anniversary in September next year. However, subject to your opinion and wishes, we may try and arrange a “Happy Hour”, or similar event, on a Friday evening in the New Year (Easter time?) and when IV(AC) has returned from its current operational commitment.

On this last point, I am sure you will all join me in wishing Happy Four the greatest of success for its deployment, and a safe return home.