What's New?

Squadron History:   Gary West, has sent a large file of typewritten documents, which is a compilation of the Squadron history from 1916 to 1986, by A. Butterworth.

The document is  well worth a read. Within the History section there are now sub pages for the Chapters of this document.

Also, as the pages are rather slow to load, the whole document (over 250 pages) is available on Google Drive in pdf format, for viewing or downloading.

There are links to do this in the History section and in the  Links Section, which take you directly to the 55 Sqn History 1916 - 1986  file on Google drive.

 

 

Brooklands Event:

100 years since Alcock and Brown's historic first non-stop flight across the North Atlantic - and 50 years since the commemorative Daily Mail Air Race in which 55 Sqn Victor Tanker crews were very much involved.

To celebrate the occasion, the staff at Brooklands Museum organised on 8.May a  reception for participants in the Daily Mail event in 1969 (itself the 50th anniversary of the famous crossing.)  We managed to contact a few worthies from 55 Squadron, who had been involved in the event and all duly turned up at 08:00 on a rainy cold day in time for breakfast with other past participants from various categories - and a visit to the reconstructed Vimy and the Harrier in which Lecky Thompson made his (many times refueled) crossing.  While there, we of course visited the other fine exhibits at the Museum - including a Vickers Vanguard, which member Gary West had landed there a good few years back on the shortened runway. The brakes are still hot...

Colin Griffiths has made some good shots of the event and these are now posted under Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race  along with recollections by Keith Evans and Colin Seymour in the Tanker Stories section.

 

Also in May, Bob Tuxford writes;

"I shall be powering XM715 down Bruntingthorpe's runway as usual at the May bank holiday Cold War Jets meeting, with Mike Beer in the back to keep an eye on the electrics and hydraulics!"  This will be on 26th May - and for those wanting more, again on 25th August.

See his report of last year's run below.

 

 

The Member List - As of May, 70 names on the list  - In order to get more information onto this list, we have put the wording from the application forms in a "Who is Who?" immediately following the formal list. This is in pretty much the reverse order of applications - newest on top. In some cases it is basic info - in others there is a story. Good news is that quite a few of our ground crew Members are applying. Certainly one of the big plusses of being on 55 was the autonomous squadron system. It may not have saved money but it formed a big family and was probably more efficient just due to that atmosphere. Nice also to see that we are getting members from the 55 (R) Squadron days, so the family is increasing...

 

Where are They Now  section - some new requests here in March.  Reading through, you can see that we had some real characters on the squadron...

 

Tanker Stories section.

First a comprehensive look at an overseas exercise recalled by John Brown. This should jog some memories.

Then action! A Falkland Islands War bombing raid, Black Buck 1:

Bob Tuxford describes his experience as long distance final Victor tanker captain and

Dick Russell contributes his memories of being seconded as receiver expert to the Vulcan bomber during this raid.

Transatlantic Air Race stories also in here.

 

35 year Raid Anniversary  - Falklands war, Operation Black Buck 1.  Event held at Bruntinthorpe aerodrome. Pictures and report by Bob Tuxford below. Click on the pictures for some great enlargements

 

100 year 3. Battle of Ypres Anniversary - The 55 Squadron RFC crew of  2nd Lt William Bishop and  Lt Douglas Mackintosh was shot down in Belgium in October 1917.  There was  a memorial held there on 22. October 2017. Details under 55 in the First World War  Period Newspaper shown below.

 

Website address -  As well as 55assoc.com  the old 55squadronassociation.jimdo.com address brings you to the same site.

 

Your email address - Has your email address changed from the one on the Member list? Please let us know!!

 

Mail Chimp Distribution List - If you are registered on our Member list, we send out multiple emails from time to time using the Mail Chimp distribution service. The mails will appear to come from 55assoc.web@gmail.com which is a valid address belonging to the webmaster. Quite possible these mails will land in your Junk folder at first.  We see that about 80% of the mails get opened, which means that 20% of you are missing out. You can trust our distribution service!

 

On the Line in France - Article  from Cross and Cockade Journal - see 55 in the First World War - includes WE Johns' story of  raid deep into German territory.

 

 

 

100 years ago... The air battle described at the bottom of the following page is shown in more detail in the 55 Squadron in the First World War section. A Centenary service event was held in 2017, which is described with photographs in the Member section.

    55  Squadron  related  Events                XH648  story - renovation at Duxford             75 years since Whittle Jet Engine flies

 

35 Yr. Anniversary - Black Buck 1

On the 30th April 1982, the RAF mounted an iconic operation under the codename 'BLACK BUCK 1’ from Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The mission was to signal the first offensive air action against the Argentine Invasion forces which had occupied the Falkland Islands at the onset of the Falklands War. On Sunday 30th April 2017, Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicester, home of the Cold War Jets and Victor K2 XM715, hosted a 35th Anniversary of Black Buck 1 in celebration of one of the RAF’s most daring raids.

 

The weekend saw the largest gathering of Black Buck veterans since 1982. Amongst those invited to a reunion dinner on the Saturday evening was the former Air Officer Commanding of No.1 Group, Air Chief Marshall Sir Michael Knight KCB AFC. On the day of the anniversary, a group photo shoot of participating aircrew, operations and engineering staff was taken in front of XM715. Following this, three members of the original ‘WHITE 2’ Black Buck crew, Bob Tuxford, Glyn Rees and Mike Beer gave a taxi and high speed demonstration run in the Victor. Representing his father Ernie Wallis (Bob’s Navigator Radar during Black Buck 1), Tony Wallis had the privilege of riding along on this very special occasion. On the runway, the simulated take-off was abandoned and brought safely to a taxi speed using the impressive brake parachute and clam shell airbrakes at the rear fuselage – a sight guaranteed to get the cameras clicking by the assembled guests and ticket holders positioned near the end of the runway.

 

After taxiing the aircraft back to the dispersal area, the operating crew gave a presentation inside the adjacent Whittle building. Mike Beer opened proceedings with an overview of the build-up to Operation Corporate, the deployment of Marham’s tankers to the South Atlantic, and an insight into life for the aircrews on this remote volcanic island base. Three intelligence gathering MRR missions were undertaken within the first week of arrival on Ascension Island, and these sorties provided a valuable insight into what was to follow.

 

Bob Tuxford gave a detailed breakdown of the eventful Black Buck 1 mission. In a nod to the original briefing made on the open breezy airfield inside the flapping walls of the tent, Bob’s presentation was poignantly interrupted by his mischievous AEO shouting down a megaphone from the side lines. Fond memories came flooding back to the amused assembled veterans. Glyn Rees wrapped up the show with a few personal recollections of life on Ascension Island and the Falklands. Refuelling support for the Hercules and Nimrod aircraft was covered, along with his experiences with the wide body TriStar tanker and cargo aircraft which became the mainstay of the South Atlantic Air Bridge.

 

The whole event was an unbridled success, and thanks must go to the Walton family who generously support the Cold War Jets collection at Bruntingthorpe Airfield. Particular thanks must also go to Brendon Johnston, who can take the credit for the idea behind the whole event (and much of the airfield preparation), and to the band of volunteers who dedicate their time and efforts towards the preservation of Teasin’ Tina, Victor K2 XM715.

 

As written for FlyPast by Sqn Ldr Bob Tuxford AFC RAF

(Capt of ‘White 2’ Black Buck 1 crew)

 

              XM715   -    braking after the  HS run
XM715 - braking after the HS run
HS run crew L to R: M. Beer B.Tuxford, G.Rees
HS run crew L to R: M. Beer B.Tuxford, G.Rees
Assembled Company BB1 Anniversary Bruntingthorpe
Assembled Company BB1 Anniversary Bruntingthorpe

55 Centenary Dinner

in Cambridge and visit to Duxford:

Official and private photos are now all in the Gallery in Members' section.

 

 

As 2 Pointer - doing the job on the Towline. Never modified to 3 Pointer.

On ground display duty at Waddington

XH 648  in Duxford - sad but at last  indoors after years outside

XH 648 - on the day of our visit,  renovation began. We hope she will once again wear 55 Squadron colours...

pic. courtesy Colin Griffiths

Nose Bomb-aimer position - used for stowing luggage in Tanker use...

 

 

XH 648 Cockpit pilots' position - not an ideal view out for formation flying...

Well maybe not new but 65 years ago..

      Gloster E25/39 15.May 1941

    Test Pilot was Fg Off Gerry Sayer

Frank Whittle's original Jet engine at Cranwell