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FourFax Going Virtual Only


This email went out today (28 April 2021) to everyone in my records. Out of 805 emails, 140 bounced back as they are no longer in use. If you didn’t receive the email you may contact me at chr*s@fourf** with your response. It would also be great if you could login to (click on “Profile” on the left) and update your email address.

Dear All,

I started FourFax back in 1990 when I realised that IV(AC) Squadron didn’t have an official association. For the first few years the association was run as a paper newsletter from Hong Kong. Later on I started the website which has grown as a resource over the years with plenty of history, stories and photographs. We now have over 1,000 members recorded (although I know that many members don’t update their details unless there is a reunion coming up).

We have organised many reunions over the years, starting with Wittering 1991  the latest being the Sqn’s 105th Anniversary at Stamford in 2017, and the two most successful, the Sqn 90th at Cottesmore in 2002 and the Sqn Centenary at Valley in 2012.

However, things are changing.

  1. The Sqn is now at RAF Valley and is likely to remain there for many years. This makes it very difficult to organise reunions and include the Sqn.
  2. The Harrier was withdrawn from service over ten years ago. The latest Sqn bosses have made little effort to support the Association and Hawk pilots have not signed up – they probably see us as a Harrier club.
  3. The Harrier Force Association covers all Harrier Sqns and personnel, and organises reunions every two years (in normal times). The Harrier Engineer Annual Reunion (HEAR) also does great work in the Stamford area.
  4. The committee has remained unchanged since we started – myself, Tony McKeon and Steve Cheeseman. We are now all retired and can see no future in continuing to run the Association as a vehicle for reunions. We do wish the website to continue to be maintained so that its valuable resources are preserved.

The Association has funds of approximately £4,000. The sum has gone up and down over the years – at the beginning I charged annual and lifetime membership to cover the costs of printing the physical newsletter and postage from Hong Kong. In later years, commercial sponsorship of the larger reunions has kept the bank balance healthy. We now have to decide what to do with these funds.

Our proposals are:

  1. £200 be passed on to me so that the website expenses are covered for the foreseeable future.
  2. A beer call is held in the Stamford area (once COVID rules permit) at no cost to the attendees.
  3. A donation is made to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
  4. A donation is made to the Harrier Force Association.

The Committee feels the distribution of funds requires your consideration and asks you to reply to this email with one of the following choices:

  1. Beer call then remainder of the funds to RAFBF
  2. Beer call then remainder of the funds to HFA
  3. Beer call then remainder of the funds divided equally between the HFA & RAFBF
  4. All funds to RAFBF (no beer call)
  5. All funds to HFA (no beer call)
  6. Funds divided equally between the RAFBF & HFA (no beer call)

Please select one option and reply to this email.

The committee also welcomes any suggestions or ideas that you might have.

Edit: This poll will close on Sunday 9 May.

Many thanks for your support over the last thirty years,

Chris Parker, Tony McKeon, Steve Cheeseman

Paddy Roberts – 11 December 1978

From Dick Wise

I am a writer researching the Harrier sales campaign to China, during the 1970s. On 11 December 1978, Flt lt Paddy Roberts, based at RAF Wittering flew a demonstration flight for a Chinese minister at BAe Dunsfold. During his demo there was a problem, which caused John Farley, the Chief Test Pilot at Dunsfold, to write to Paddy Roberts “I’m extremely sorry you had to suffer a fright, Paddy. and so glad you managed to sort it out without in being in the least apparent to watchers outside, that you had such a drama going on inside.”

I would be grateful if Mr Roberts would contact me to describe the background to events on 11 December 1978
tel 01428 729319

I’ve got no contact details for Paddy – can anybody help?


From David Herriot of the Buccaneer Aircrew Association:

You may have heard through the grapevine that all the Cold War jets are being evicted from Bruntingthorpe because the owner has leased the whole airfield for car storage.  This meant that, until a new venue had been found, TBAG’s 2 fast taxy jets could have been destined for the scrap heap. The GOOD NEWS, however, is that just this week a new home has been announced for XW544 and XX894 at Kemble, where the jets can be relocated to and will have permission to continue with their maintenance, preservation and crowd pleasing activities. It will sustain the memory of our favourite aircraft for years to come.

The move to Kemble will cost something in the order of £25K and TBAG have created an on-line Crowdfunding appeal to assist them in achieving the sum required. They are a non-profit voluntary organisation that we have supported with ‘bodies’ at their Thunder Days.

If you are willing to support TBAG in their relocation to Kemble, please see the link below.

I will approach the BAA Committee to see if there is anything that the BAA Fund can do to support this worthy cause.

Over to you – DH

RAF Benevolent Fund

I’ve uploaded a document from the RAF Benevolent Fund describing their services. In case any of us are aware of someone who might benefit from some assistance from them…

Thanks to John White of The Hunter Register for this information.

Click here to download the file.

SENGO, JENGO, Liney Interview?

From Denis Calvert <>:
I’m writing something (again) on the Harrier. I’ve done most of the text, including interviewing a Harrier pilot – Peter Sturt – nice guy. He did a tour on GR3 with 20 Sqn in Germany, then later became boss of the short-lived 216 Sqn on Buccaneers. What I’m looking for is to talk with a Harrier engineer, SENGO, JENGO, line engineer or whatever, for ‘the engineer’s view’ of the aircraft. With all your contacts, do you know anybody who might be willing to give me an hour or so to talk at some time before mid-January? All suggestions gratefully received.

Can anybody help?

Black Arrows

John White writes:

Some of you might like to see the short ‘film’ (16 mins) in the link below provided by Joe Dible.  Some interesting live footage (a lot of very clever CGI), plus quite a bit on the individuals involved – some of those are still on the register.

Lt P H L Playfair 1913

Giles Smith has sent me an email about Lt Playfair’s BE2a crash in 1913:

I have been researching the former WW1 airfield at Lilbourne for a while now and would comment that, whilst the first paragraph is mainly about the vagaries of the Breguet aircraft, the crash involving Chinnery and Playfair was in a type BE2a aircraft serial no. 227 with 70 hp Renault engine and occurred in mid afternoon of the first day of the 1913 Army Manoeuvres – 22 September 1913 – in fields at Lilbourne across the A5 Watling Street from the temporary aeroplane base at Hillmorton, east of Rugby. Playfair was taken to St Cross Hospital in Rugby and was still there at the end of the week when visited by his colleagues.

There is a picture of the wrecked ‘plane in J.M.Bruce’s book ‘Britain’s First Warplanes and an article with pictures in the Rugby Advertiser of 27th September 1913.

I hope that this will suffice for now as I’m collecting loads of info about the men and aeroplanes involved with photos and the concluding reports of the RFC in 1913 Army Manoeuvres with a view to writing an article.
Giles Smith……Lilbourne



Scampton Church

Joe Bartrop (project co-ordinator, RAF Commemorative Window Scampton Church)

As we approach Remembrance Day, I have been advised write to you, and ask for your support to share this tribute with your members, some of whom may have served at RAF Scampton.

The Ministry of Defence have announced that they intend to decommission RAF Scampton in 2022. Whether this happens or not, a project to commission a stunning RAF stained glass window at Scampton Church to mark 100 years’ relationship between RAF Scampton and Scampton Church (1918 – 2018), and thereby also create a lasting memory to all who served in squadrons at the base, both in peacetime, during the two world wars and the cold war, is now up and running.

RAF and aviation organisations have agreed to be non-funding community partners in the project.

Two well respected stained glass designers, with an impressive portfolio, have designed the RAF Scampton window. The RAF Scampton badge forms a central part of that design, alongside the winged RAF badge (per ardva ad astra) which sits proudly on the 106 RAF Commonwealth War Graves in the churchyard.

War Graves

The inscription on the window, chosen by Wing Commander Parker OIC at RAF Scampton, will read:

“To commemorate those who served in squadrons based at RAF Scampton 1918 – 2018”

The design includes a representation of an Avro Lancaster, Avro Vulcan and the Red Arrows Hawk Jets in a diamond nine formation, all depicted flying over the runway at RAF Scampton. Also included in the initiative is an associated aviation arts project in Scampton’s two local primary schools to which children of RAF families attend. The aim of the project is to teach the history of RAF Scampton and help teach children of the sacrifice given by others to ensure they live in a free country. Filming for the first crowd funding video was carried out by Lincoln University and is now complete, and heads the campaign site.

The film includes contributions from Wing Commander Parker (OIC RAF Scampton), Wing Commander Keith (OIC RAFAT – Red Arrows) Johnny Johnson (Last surviving member of the original 617 Squadron) and Bill Ramsey (Wing Commander Red Arrows, BBMF and Vulcan pilot) Aviation sponsors have donated to a ’thank you’ scheme which rewards contributions towards the RAF window with original prizes.

RAF Stained Glass Window

A second video focus more on the historical links between RAF Scampton and Scampton Church, and a final Remembrance Day video is due for release on 11th October. Your support in circulating this meaningful commemorative tribute to your members, some of who may have served at RAF Scampton, would greatly increase the project’s chance of success.

Here are the Campaigns Social media handles:

Campaign: Facebook: Twitter: @scamptonchurch Instagram:


Kind Regards Joe Bartrop (project co-ordinator) 07870665245

No. 234 Sqn History

From Nigel Walpole:


(Please see below – circulated on Nigel Walpole’s behalf – please respond directly to him)

The heritage hunters of No. 234 Squadron (No. 1 Squadron, 229 OCU, RAF Chivenor) wish to publish a booklet of flight-line humour, ‘horror’ and achievement, entitled ‘Laugh with the Dragon’, modelled on those excellent books ,’Out of the Blue’ (Cowie, Jones & Long), and I have agreed to be the scribe and general factotum.

Terry Heyes, who gave us those splendid dragon cartoons for our squadron history ‘Dragon Rampant’, has offered his support again, but the success of this project depends now in what we can wrest from our ageing memories, and for obvious reasons we have no time to lose. We will of course plagiarise ‘Dragon Rampant’, but we know there are many other tales out there to tell.

So we would be very grateful for any such inputs from those who served on, or passed through 234 Squadron on IRE, FR, Pre-Lightning/ Buccaneer/Harrier/Jaguar/FAC courses, etc. These tales need not be confined to those occurring solely on the squadron, we also want to include others which happened to us old boys of 234 in later years. Also, while ‘facts’ are to be preferred, some fiction could be made very acceptable if suitably phrased. We have in mind anything from a single sentence to a 300 words and, while we must retain the right to reject or amend, nothing of yours would go to press without your blessing.

We therefore urge you to bare your souls now, drag out those anecdotes which have been enjoyed repeatedly in many bars over the years, so that we can record them for posterity.

A similar plea has gone out to the Sabre and Hawk fraternities, and I now hope impatiently for your positive responses to; 01502-723371.

Thank you

Nigel Walpole

Royal Air Force Day at The RAF Museum Hendon

Wednesday 8th May 2019

From the RAF Museum:

The Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to invite current and former RAF men and women of every rank, trade and from across all aspects of its daily mission, to join us for our RAF Day 2019 to be held at Hendon on Wednesday 8 May, from 10am to 4pm.
The Event will be held in our Age of Uncertainty Hall – 1980 to Today – providing a fitting space for colleagues, friends and families to join us and share their stories, before exploring the rest of the Museum which covers The RAF’s First 100 Years.  The RAF Day will enable us to sustain and develop an enduring relationship with The RAF – its People, Squadrons, Bases and the wider RAF Family.
As part of our RAF Centenary programme, the Museum launched a new digital project called RAF Stories which aims to record a wide variety of stories about the Royal Air Force.  Our RAF Stories team will be on hand on the day to provide information on how your story could be included in our online archive and welcomes stories from anyone about any aspect of their career or experiences within or surrounding the Royal Air Force. 
This invitation is open to all current and former RAF colleagues of every rank and across all aspects of its work, and we do hope you will be able to attend.
We look forward to welcoming you in May and ask that you register your interest by contacting Anji Patel or Odette Harris via email on or 020 8358 4849.   As the event proved to be popular last year, and to enable us to ensure we have sufficient car parking spaces for all our visitors, we are asking our guests to also confirm how they intend to travel on the day.  
Maggie Appleton
Chief Executive Officer 
RAF Museum 

Maggie Appleton
Chief Executive Officer 
RAF Museum 

Sqn News – November 2018

Hawks at Culdrose

Hawks at Culdrose

An interesting time for the UK as Brexit rears its head. Regardless of the way in which one voted, one can be assured that this country will be consumed by a determined effort to confirm or rather re-define our identity as a nation.

After the Sqn split earlier in the calendar year, much the same can be said about IV(AC) Sqn. We have now weathered the incessant noise produced by the formation of XXV(FE) Sqn, maybe the only formation they’ve managed to achieve in recent months, and as such have been able to confirm and re-define our identity here at IV(AC).

The effort that has gone in to reforming and modernising the air to surface combat work-up, ongoing work on a more efficient radar interception training process, and the recently started development of more effective air combat tactics are all indicators that IV(AC) Sqn have the calibre of staff that define fighter pilot training, not least carry out a successful taxy and brakes check without popping the tyres.

Read more…

Chris Abbott – RIP

From Geoff Quick:

I’m very sad to report that Chris Abbott passed away on 14th November, following a long fight with cancer.

I first met Chris when he was a Fg Off at Wildenrath in 1976 where his immensely cheerful character shone brightly, ably supported by Sue. 
Chris had already had active service experience, including doing Regiment soldiering in the Gulf area, a fact somewhat belied by his youthful face but supported by a GSM ribbon. 

Chris was the Camp Commandant for the creation of 6 Site following the Squadron’s move in 1977 and showed as a very competent operator when dealing with situations at all levels. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and was delighted when we made contact again, after many years, on Social media. By then he was a well respected authority on CBRN force protection and his reputation for effort and dedication continued undiminished. Chris enriched the lives of many and it was a privilege to have known him. 

Ferry Tips

Does anybody remember anything about ferry tips? I remember we had them but don’t think I ever flew with them. Did they fall out of favour?

Pic via Harrier Preservation: @HPreservation

Perhaps they were more trouble than they were worth?

Heritage Centre Visit – Friday 7th Dec 18

From the HFA:

To coincide with the annual Christmas drinks on 7 December 2018 at The Lord Burghley pub in Stamford, Phil Wilsher has arranged for the Harrier Heritage Centre at RAF Wittering to open on Friday 7 December at 16.30. The visit will be for approximately one and a half hours.  HFA members and their guests wishing to attend should notify Phil no later than 3 December on Facebook, telephone (07971566851), email (philwillsher <at> or website.  Please provide full names of all visitors along with vehicle make, colour and registration for access to the Station.

Frank Whitley

From Paul Nuth:


Looking for a contact from the Squadron Association who maybe able to help me. 

Frank was an aviator with RAF No 4 Squadron throughout WW2, primarily with Spitfires, service with expeditionary forces in France, Battle of Britain. He was shot down, got back to UK via French Resistance and got back to active flying service. 

Frank Whitley passed away on Monday 5th November a few days before his 98th birthday. 
DOB 11 09 1920
RAF No. 4 Squadon 1939 to 1945. 
Coastal (Yorkshire) 

Frank’s funeral is on the 21st November at Gregory Minster, Kirdale. 

As with many who experienced the horrors of WW2 Frank did not discuss the detail with his family. 

The family would be greatly appreciate someone to attend the funeral and have the Last Post played. 

Frank lived with his wife (still alive at age 96) independently in central Harrogate. After the war he did become a very success businessman in the wool industry. 

Kind Regards 

My name Paul Nuth (Lt Cdr RN Rtd). Frank’s son (Tim) is a close friend hence my involvement.