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 is organising on the morning of 8.May a small morning reception for participants in the Daily Mail event in 1969 (itself the 50th anniversary of the famous crossing.) If you were involved and would like to be invited, please mail email@example.com as soon as possible to be listed.
We appreciate your recollections and names of any other participants! Some recollections, kindly written by Keith Evans and Colin Seymour are in the Tanker
Stories section. Any further memorabilia / stories, I will gladly forward to the organisers.
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!"
See his report of last year's run below.
The Member List - As of January, 61 names on the list - We have been trying to get more information onto this list - but we would lose clarity and space doing that, so we have put the wording from the application forms in a "Who is Who?" after the 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.
Where are They Now section - We are getting requests at regular intervals for information on ex and old Squadron Members.
Please look in and see if you can help.
Tanker Stories section.
First a comprehensive look at an overseas exercise recalled by John Brown. This should jog some memories.
Then real action! A Falkland Islands 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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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)
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