Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Vulcan Black Buck Mission Crews

Cover signed by all three Captain's from the Vulcan Black Buck Missons 1-7.Sqn Ldr Neil McDougall, Sqn Ldr John Reeve and Flt Lt Martin Withers.

Three 22-year old Avro Vulcans B2s were deployed to Wideawake airfield on Ascension Island, which were drawn from No. 44, 50 and No. 101 Squadron RAF. The Vulcans were captained by Squadron Leader Neil McDougall, Squadron Leader John Reeve and Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers.

Black Buck 1 (30 April/1 May 1982)
The first 'Black Buck' mission was flown against the runway at Port Stanley airfield, the intention being to deny its use to the Argentinean high performance fighters using high explosive bombs. A stream of eleven Victors and two Vulcans took off just before midnight, with Vulcan XM598 (Squadron Leader John Reeve and crew) designated as the primary strike aircraft and XM607 (Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers and crew) in reserve. However, soon after take-off John Reeve had problems pressurising XM598's cabin and was forced to return to Ascension, leaving Martin Withers and XM607 to complete the sortie.
The Victors split into three waves flying at their economic cruise height of 27,000 feet. As the force headed south, some Victors tanked other Victors, whilst others topped-up the Vulcan. At each refuelling, the crews had to ensure each aircraft had enough fuel to return to Ascension or to reach the return leg rendezvous. The Vulcan flew at 33,000 feet, below its economic cruise height, but where it could keep in visual contact with the Victors below. It descended to meet the Victors at each refuelling bracket, climbing back to height afterwards.
As the formation got nearer to the Falklands, it decreased in size until only two Victors and the Vulcan were left. Trouble then struck. As one Victor was transferring fuel to the other, the pair encountered strong turbulence, which caused the probe on the receiving aircraft to break. This meant the Victor had to recover direct to Ascension as it could not take on any more fuel. With the success of the mission hanging in the balance, the second Victor XL189, flown by Squadron Leader Bob Tuxford and crew, took back the fuel it had just transferred and headed on alone with XM607.
All was not well aboard the Vulcan either. Its high operating weights had meant it had used up more fuel than anticipated and at the last outward 'prod' north of the Falklands, Bob Tuxford and crew gave over more fuel than planned to make sure XM607 could complete the mission. This left the Victor short of fuel, so much so that unless it could get tanked-up on the return leg, it would ditch approximately 400nm short of Ascension. However, until the code-word was broadcast indicating the Vulcan had hit its target, Bob Tuxford could not break the radio silence to request tanker support. For giving the Vulcan the chance to complete the mission successfully, Bob Tuxford was awarded the Air Force Cross.
Back on the Vulcan, Martin Withers took XM607 down to 300 feet as he approached the Falklands to avoid detection by Argentinean radar. 40nm from its target, XM607 climbed to 10,000 feet for a straight-in bombing run on Port Stanley airfield. The 21 one thousand pound HE bombs were dropped diagonally across the airfield, a single bomb cratering the runway halfway down its length and the remainder causing havoc amongst the parked aircraft and stores. The code-word 'Superfuse' was then broadcast and XM607 climbed away, landing back at Ascension 15¾ hours after take off. For this important flight, fraught with potential hazards beyond enemy action, Martin Withers was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Black Buck 2 (3-4 May 1982)
John Reeve and crew flew XM607 armed with 21 one thousand pound HE bombs on a similar mission to 'Black Buck' 1. The lessons learned from the first mission regarding fuel consumption were put to good use and, although no further hits were scored on the Port Stanley runway, peripheral areas, parked aircraft and stores all suffered damage.
Black Buck 3 and 4 (28-29 May 1982)
The third 'Black Buck' was cancelled due to poor weather. 'Black Buck' 4, on the night of 28-29 May, saw the RAF move away from HE bomb attacks to using the AGM-45A Shrike anti-radiation missiles against the Argentinean radar sites around Port Stanley. Vulcan XM597, flown by Squadron Leader Neil McDougall and crew, was the strike aircraft for the mission but was forced to return to Ascension five hours after take-off when the lead Victor's refuelling drogue failed.
Black Buck 5 (30-31 May 1982)
For 'Black Buck' 5, Neil McDougall and crew set out again to attack Argentinean radars, this time in a mission coordinated with Harrier strike on the islands. The Shrike missiles were carried externally on pylons. This freed up the Vulcan's bomb bay to hold two additional fuel tanks, reducing the amount of Victor tanker support required. As the Harriers attacked Port Stanley airfield, Neil McDougall and crew loitered at a safe distance waiting for the radar sites to transmit. It was a game of 'cat and mouse', the Shrikes were eventually launched causing limited damage to one radar site.
Black Buck 6 (2-3 June 1982)
Neil McDougall and crew again took a Shrike-armed XM597 to attack Argentinean radars. The Vulcan ran in at 300 feet before pulling up to height 25nm from the islands. As it did so, the Argentinean's switched off their main air defence radar. XM597 was forced to prowl around, hoping the radar would be switched on again long enough for the Shrikes to be locked-on and launched. After some 40 minutes, a lock-on was achieved and two Shrikes sent on their way, destroying a radar that had been acting as fire control for a number of anti-aircraft batteries.
Trouble ensued on the return leg at the final refuelling 'prod'. As the Vulcan moved its probe into the Victor drogue, for no apparent reason it broke, spraying fuel all over the Vulcan's windscreen. With no hope of taking on more fuel, or making it back to Ascension, Neil McDougall set course for the only possible diversion - Rio de Janeiro. The crew jettisoned classified material over the South Atlantic and, with their fuel situation critical, made contact with Rio air traffic control on the distress frequency. The Vulcan was kept high for fuel economy and made a steep, straight-in approach into Rio's Galeao Airport, landing in the wrong direction on the inactive runway.
After seven days, the Vulcan and its crew were allowed to leave, on the proviso that XM597 played no further part in the conflict. For his pioneering missile attacks, Neil McDougall was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Black Buck 7 (12 June 1982)
The final 'Black Buck' mission saw a return to direct attacks on Port Stanley airfield. With no further strikes required on the runway, XM607 with Martin Withers and crew attacked equipment on the airfield with a mix of 'iron' and anti-personnel bombs. A number of hits were scored and XM607 returned safely to Ascension.

Monday, 11 June 2007

David H.S. Morgan DSC 1947-

Flight Lieutenant David Morgan was just a third of the way through his training when he was called up for the Falklands War.
But his inexperience with the Sea Harrier jet didn't stand in his way - for he became the most successful pilot of the war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross medal for his bravery as he shot down four enemy aircraft.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Lord Peter Carrington - Foreign Secretary 1919-

Rt Hon Peter Alexander Rupert Carrington, the 6th Baron Carrington, the Old Fox to his respectful peers. Lord Carrington has had an extraordinary political career, serving in the Lords as the impeccable courtier to six Tory prime ministers, starting with Winston Churchill. The original Lord C was a banker but, as the ancestral line continued, the family distanced itself from that dirty business and was forced to sell the ancestral pile, Wycombe Abbey, to a girl’s school. An ex-Minister of Defence and Foreign Secretary, and Secretary-General of NATO.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

ACM Sir Peter T Squire, GCB DFC AFC ADC RAF 1945-2018

Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter T Squire, was Chief of the Air Staff during the start of both Operation Veritas and Coperation Telic.

Sir Peter was commissioned into the RAF in 1966. Following initial officer training at the RAF College Cranwell and subsequent flying training, Sir Peter flew Hunters and later,Harriers.

In 1982 Wing Commander Squire was commanding officer of the RAF's Number 1 Fighter Squadron of Harriers when it was hurriedly mobilised as part of the Falklands Task Force. His squadron of ten Harriers flew a total of 151 sorties, two a day for each pilot, mainly ground attack and battlefield air interdiction, in dangerous low-level flying which took a heavy toll. Four of the Harriers were brought down, and another three damaged, leaving only three unscathed. They became the first RAF aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier, HMS Hermes, since the Second World War. Wing Commander Squire flew his Harrier off the cargo vessel, Atlantic Conveyor only a few days before she was sunk by an Argentine exocet missile. From then on, he was in the thick of the action, day after day, with no respite, attacking Stanley Airport and other Argentine targets. In a pioneer mission, he became the first ever RAF pilot to launch a laser-guided "smart" bomb ? attacking Argentine troops on Mount Longdon. He had narrow escapes when he crash landed at Port San Carlos airstrip, and again just days before the war ended when a blowpipe missile exploded near his Harrier, and a bullet penetrated the cockpit, almost hitting him. After the war, engine failure forced him to eject before his aircraft crashed into the sea off Cape Pembroke

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Captain Christopher Wreford-Brown DSO RN 1945-

Christopher Wreford-Brown was captain of the Conqueror, which sank Argentina's General Belgrano. The submarine returned to Faslane flying the Jolly Roger (skull and crossbones), the flag that is traditionally raised when returning from a successful combat mission.

 Christopher Wreford-Brown commanded the frigate HMS Cornwall, the diesel sub HMS Opossum and the nuclear subs HMS Valiant and HMS Conqueror.

Captain Michael Clapp CB RN 1932-

Michael Clapp joined the Royal Navy in 1950 from Marlborough College. As a midshipman, he served in the Far East during the Korean campaign. In 1954 he was boarding officer capturing a caique running guns into Cyprus. In 1955, he was appointed to No. 1 Long Observer Course, expecting to specialise in anti-submarine warfare. His first operational flying tour was, however, with 849 Airborne Early Warning Squadron. In 1959, after a series of flying courses, he was posted to Ferranti Ltd to assist in test flying the weapon system for the Buccaneer Mk 1 finally joining 700 Z Flight, the Intensive Flying Trials Unit.
In 1962, he was the Senior Observer of 801 Squadron, then the first operational Mk 1 Buccaneer squadron. They embarked in HMS Ark Royal and Victorious and sailed for the Far East and tropical trials returning home in January 1964. He returned to the Far East to command HMS Puncheston, a Minesweeper, during Indonesian Confrontation when he was mentioned in despatches.
In late 1965 he took command of 801 Squadron now equipped with the Buccaneer Mk 2. The Squadron once again embarked in HMS Victorious and sailed for the Far East and tropical trials.
After a brief stay at the Joint Warfare Establishment, he had two ship commands, HMS Jaguar and HMS Leander. He also completed two tours in the Naval Staff of the MOD and one as the executive officer of HMS Norfolk completing Exocet trials at Toulon. Later he was the Naval Director of the Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff.
In 1981 he was appointed Commodore Amphibious Warfare and commanded the landings and inshore operations in the Falklands conflict in 1982 for which he was made a CB.

Vice Admiral Sir John Coward KCB DSO 1937-

Vice Admiral Sir John Coward was The Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies from 1992 until 1994. The Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies was a UK senior serving military officer between 1972 and 2001. The post rotated through the three branches of the armed forces in turn. There had been one civilian Commandant, Alistair Buchan, in 1971 when the old Imperial Defence College became the Royal College of Defence Studies. In 1991, the post was downgraded to 3 star, and then in 2001, it was opened up to competition through public advertisement. Subsequent incumbents have as yet both been senior retired military officers.

During the Falklands Conflict, HMS Brilliant was commanded by Captain John Coward. HMS Brilliant (F90) was a Type 22 frigate of the Royal Navy.

She was part of the Task Force that took part in the Falklands War. There, her two helicopters were involved in attacking the Argentine submarine Santa Fe. She was the first Royal Navy warship to fire the Seawolf missile in anger when, on 12 May 1982, she shot down three aircraft. On 21 May HMS Brilliant came under Argentine air attack outside San Carlos Water and was slightly damaged by cannon fire. She rescued 24 survivors from Atlantic Conveyor on 25 May.

Commodore Neill Thomas CBE DSC

801 Sea Harrier Squadron, HMS HERMES

Commodore Neill Thomas joined the Royal Navy in 1963 and commenced his flying training in 1965. He trained on the Jet Provost/ Hunter and flew Sea Vixens and F-4 Phantoms extensively from the old Ark Royal before commanding the Sea Harrier HQ Squadron (Trials, Operational Training and Chief Tactical Instructor for the Sea Harrier). He was embarked with his squadron in HMS Hermes during Operation Corporate in 1982. Following attendance of the Joint Service Defence College in 1984 he served on Operational and Ministry of Defence Staffs before being appointed to the new Ark Royal in command of her Air Group (Commander (Air)) in 1990. He then carried out language training before his appointment to South Korea as Naval and Air Attaché. On returning, he studied at the NATO Defence College in Rome followed by appointment to the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force Command, initially as Deputy then as the Force Commander.
He was awarded the CBE in 2000 and DSC in 1982. He retired from the Royal Navy in 2001.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Lt Col Ewen Southby-Tailyour OBE RM

Ewen Southby-Tailyour OBE RM is an author, sailor, and ex-Marine who served for 32 years in the Royal Marines, working with (and often commanding) amphibious vessels from all the NATO countries. He has held various appointments in four Commando units. His career included active service operations in Aden, Northern Ireland, Oman, the Falkland Islands, Hong Kong and thirteen winters in the Norwegian Arctic developing the use of fast raiding and assault craft for supporting commando operations. He also served in the US, West Indies, the North Sea (oil-rig protection), Cyprus, Corsica, Malta, Bahrain, the Yemen, Kuwait and the South Atlantic (before the Falklands (Malvinas) War). He was attached to the USMC in 1977 in the eastern Mediterranean and, earlier for six months, to the French Commando Hubert in Toulon with which he attended their combatant nageur course. He was seconded for two years as a reconnaissance platoon and company commander with the Sultan of Muscat's Armed Forces during the Dhofar War.

During the Falklands (Malvinas) War he was the navigation adviser to 'the command' as well as commander of the Task Force Landing Craft Squadron.
His final four years were spent on the staffs of the Commandant General, Royal Marines, and the Director General Surface Ships (Amphibious Group), helping to design and procure the next generation of amphibious shipping and craft, most notably the LPH, LPD, LCVP Mk 4 and the LCU Mk 10

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Lt Steve Thomas RN

Lt Cdr S.R. Thomas DSC R.N. was a member of 801 Sqdn. flying Sea Harriers from H.M.S Invincible during the Falklands War. He ws credited with 3 air victories, a mirage 111EA on 1st May and 2 Daggers on 21st May 1982. He had been on Squadron for 10 months when the war started. Flew 51 combat missions of which 10 were at night. In 1985 he was serving as a Test Pilot on Sea Harriers, GR3 and GR5's.

MGen Sir Jeremy Moore KCB OBE MC 1928-2007

Major General Sir Jeremy Moore was the commander of the British Land Forces who won the Falklands War.

The General joined the Royal Marines straight from school in 1947 and spent the next 36 years in that Corps. No sooner was his training over than he was sent to Malaya where he won his first Military Cross in the Emergency action there. Subsequently his posts varied from Housemaster of the Royal Marines School of Music, Instructor of NCO's School and of the RMA Sandhurst, Company Commander and service at the Brunei Revolt. He served in the 17 Gurkha Division and from 1966 was Assistant Secretary to the Chiefs of Staff Committee at the MOD.
He received the OBE in 1973 and became Major General in 1979, which placed him, as he put it himself, "in a position to be given the command of the land forces in the Falkland Islands". Under his command, they won.

Sir John F. "Sandy" Woodward GBE KCB 1932-2013

Sir John Forster "Sandy" Woodward is a British Admiral who joined the Royal Navy in 1946 at age thirteen. He became a submariner, and received his first command, the Valiant-class nuclear hunter-killer submarine Warspite in 1969.
In 1978 he was appointed to the Ministry of Defence. Woodward was promoted to Rear Admiral and in 1981 appointed Flag Officer First Flotilla. In 1982 he commanded the South Atlantic Task Groups in the Falklands War under the Commander-in-Chief Lord Fieldhouse. For his efforts during the war Woodward was knighted.

In 1983 Woodward was appointed Flag Officer Submarines and NATO Commander Submarines Eastern Atlantic. In 1984 he was promoted to Vice Admiral, and in 1985 he was a Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff. Before retirement in 1989 he also served as C in C Naval Home Command and Flag Aide-de-Camp to the Queen.

Sir John William Frederic Nott 1932-

Sir John William Frederic Nott is a former a British Conservative Party Politician prominent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He featured heavily in the public eye as Secretary of State for Defence during the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and the subsequent War.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Sir Rex Masterman Hunt Kt CMG 1926-2012

Sir Rex Masterman Hunt was the British Governor of the Falkland Islands between 1980 and September 1985 with a 3 month gap between 2 April 1982 and 25 June 1982, during the occupation by Argentine armed forces.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Major General Julian H A Thompson CB OBE 1934-

Major General Julian Thompson CB OBE joined the Royal Marines a month after his 18th birthday and served for 34 years, in the Near, Middle and Far East, and the Southern and Northern Regions of Europe and commanded on operations in all ranks from platoon commander to major general. He commanded 40 Commando Royal Marines for two and a half years, and the 3rd Commando Brigade for two years. The latter period of command included the Falklands War of 1982, in which his brigade carried out the initial landings and fought the majority of the land battles.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Brian Hanrahan 1949-2010

Brian Hanrahan - BBC Falklands War Correspondent

Ask anyone about reporting from the Falklands War in 1982, and before long they will be quoting Brian Hanrahan's memorable phrase, "I counted them all out, and I counted them all back."
It was a clever ruse to get round reporting restrictions, so that he could say that all British Harrier jets had returned safely. It has become a prime example of good reporting under pressure. During his 20 years as a BBC foreign affairs reporter, he has covered some of the major events to shake the world in recent times.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher 1925-2013

Margaret Thatcher was British Prime Minister from 1979-1990.

On 2 April 1982, a ruling military junta in Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory that Argentina had claimed since an 1830s dispute on their British settlement. Within days Mrs Thatcher sent a naval task force to recapture the islands. Despite the huge logistical difficulties the operation was a success, resulting in a wave of patriotic enthusiasm and support for her government at a time when Thatcher's popularity had been at an all-time low for a serving Prime Minister.