Images and text from Paul Briggs, 41 Retro.
Well organised by the Spirit of Coltishal Association, a service to remember the victims of a bus crash, which happened during a squadron exchange with 421 Sqn, RCAF. A big thank you to 41(R) Sqn for the support they gave to the event, with a Typhoon flypast, presentation of a new plaque for the memorial and the laying of a wreath presented by 41 Squadron personnel.
The following information and pictures were provided by Mark Sheldon of BAE Systems. They serve as an accompaniment to the blog entry for Lovell's Final Victory.
Photo (via Bill Norman) showing personnel inspecting the wreckage from Ju88A 4U-GH, which dived into Barnaby Moor near Middlesborough after being intercepted and shot down by Flight Lieutenant Anthony D. J. ‘Tony’ Lovell on the 30th March 1941. The structure on the skyline is Eston Beacon and the crater containing the bulk of the wreckage from the Ju88 is visible behind and slightly to the right of fuselage section in the foreground.
The moorland where the Ju88 impacted has since been drained and turned to agricultural use, however, a shallow depression, which was filled with water when visited earlier this year, marks the crash site. Lying nearby was a piece from one of the main wing spars, positively identified following inspection of the Ju88 held by the RAF Museum.
41 Squadron's Flt Lt Laura Frowen is competing in the 7th edition of Expedition Africa, racing 500km across the Baviaans and Kouga Regions. - Follow her progress via the links above.
This article was originally posted on the RAF Website.
RAF Coningsby Gate Guardian, Phantom FGR2, XT891
Some aircraft hold a special place in RAF history and XT891, the RAF Coningsby Gate Guardian is certainly one. It was not the first Phantom delivered to the UK as that accolade goes to a prototype YF-4K which first flew on 27 June 1966 at the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis. XT891, however, was the first delivered for operational service to the Royal Air Force.
Group Captain Stanley Mason formally accepted XT891, an F4M designated the FGR2 (Fighter, Ground Attack, Reconnaissance) in RAF service, in a ceremony at RAF Aldergrove on 20th July 1968. After acceptance, it arrived on 228 Operational Conversion Unit, or OCU, on 23 August 1968.
A twin stick variant, the rear cockpit had a different configuration to the normal Phantom. The layout of the cockpit consoles was revised to accommodate the throttles which were mounted on the left. Although these operated normally in the military power range, reheat could not be selected in the back. An enhanced flight instrument cluster sat at eye level in the back seat, although it restricted the forward view considerably. The floor mounted control column allowed the flying instructor in the rear cockpit to take control when needed. The “stick” could be removed to allow the radar scope to be pulled out from its housing, otherwise impossible if a stick was installed. For intercept training sorties this was the preferred configuration, although occasionally it remained fitted, allowing the staff navigators some “stick time”.
The trainer configuration was less common and each operational squadron had only one twin sticker although a much higher proportion were operated by the OCU at Coningsby because of the increased training task as pilots converted to the Phantom. In all other respects it was fully capable operationally.
Soon after its arrival XT891 moved across to 54 Squadron in the ground attack role remaining at Coningsby for some years serving another short stint on the OCU. When 56 Squadron reformed with Phantoms it became the Squadron “two sticker” serving as “Zulu” at RAF Wattisham before returning to the OCU at Coningsby and, eventually moving to RAF Leuchars where it wore the tail letters “Charlie Zulu”. Another stint at RAF Wattisham as “Sierra” on 74 Squadron ended its service career and it returned to its spiritual home at RAF Coningsby.
Once retired, officially, it adopted a ground instructional airframe number, 9136M, although it continues to wear its operational registration marks. Soon after being placed on display as the Station Gate Guardian it was repainted in the colours in which it first served in 1968. The square fin cap for the radar warning receiver was removed to return it to its original configuration and it reverted to the grey and green camouflaged pattern with red, white and blue roundels reminiscent of its early service during the Cold War. In subsequent years both 6 Squadron and 41 Squadron, both of which operated the type but not the actual airframe, laid claim to the airframe adding their own squadron markings.
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