Archive for the ‘After the War Years’ Category

The Ceremony of the Presentation of ‘THE STANDARD’ at RAF Abingdon 4th March 1954.

06 September, 2017

We recently received an email out of the blue from a Mrs Underhill, who is a photographer who was given a box of effects from a friend of a friend.  Included were one or two pieces relating to XXIV Squadron. We have requested they be sent to the Squadron at Brize.

Probably the most interesting item is this group photograph taken , it is thought, on the 4th March, 1954 at RAF Abingdon in connection with the presentation of a Squadron Standard.


Four Rescued from Antarctic Ice

18 October, 2015
Newspaper Cutting - Dec 1972

Huddersfield Examiner newspaper cutting – Dec 1972

The contents of this post resulted from an extremely unusual source and a  quirky chain of events. I was sent a small newspaper cutting from the Huddersfield Examiner dated 2nd December 1972 by my daughter’s boyfriend relating to his mother and fathers engagement that year. Nothing out the ordinary in that but on the reverse was the following headline – “Four Rescued from Antarctic Ice” and that a RAF Hercules was the aircraft that spotted them, leading to the eventual happy outcome.

This started the old grey cells working and after some nifty Google forensic searches, a link was tracked down to an archive copy of a news bulletin produced quarterly by the New Zealand Antarctic Society, entitled “Antarctic” dated December 1972. GOLD had been struck. In fact it turned out that Gold had in fact been struck twice as you will see.

The meat of the story is shown below but a link is included for you to read the whole of the article with map for reference and indeed the entire bulletin. [P264-266]


Men Drift for Five Days on Ice Floes in McMurdo Sound

 For five days four men—an American, two New Zealanders, and an Englishman—drifted helplessly on ice floes in McMurdo Sound when their trimaran was swept into pack ice and had to be abandoned. Starving, frostbitten, and near total exhaustion, the men from the University of Canterbury marine biology unit at Cape Bird, were picked up from a small ice floe by a United States Navy helicopter on the afternoon of December 2 after an aerial search by British and American aircraft for nearly 30 hours.

 On the evening of November 27 the four men launched the trimaran for the first trip of the season. Their last radio communication with Scott Base was on November 25. They were not known to be missing until December 1 when a helicopter made a cargo flight to Cape Bird. The huts were deserted, the trimaran was missing, and the last entry on the temperature recording graph was dated November 26.

 Major P. G. Frazer, leader at Scott Base, who saw the men on November 23 when he flew by helicopter to collect the party’s voting papers for the New Zealand General Election, immediately approached Captain A. N. Fowler, the United States Navy support force commander, who ordered a search to be made. Hercules aircraft from the Royal Air Force and the United States Navy, helicopters, and a Military Airlift Command Starlifter took part in the mission.

Ross Island

Ross Island


Nearly 24 hours after the search began the missing men were spotted by a trained ice observer, Chief Aerographer’s Mate A. C. Boeger, who was returning to Christchurch aboard an R.A.F. Hercules piloted by Squadron Leader P. Forrester. Their small ice floe was then three miles west of Cape Royds. Their remarkable journey had taken them westward from Cape Bird, south through Wohlschlag Bay, along the Ross Island coast, and then westward again.

A United States Navy VXE6 Squadron helicopter piloted by Lieutenant A. Costlow and Lieutenant (j-g) J. McComas, landed on the ice floe, picked up the men, and flew them to McMurdo Station where they were taken to the hospital for treatment and rest. In addition to the effects of hunger and exhaustion, they were suffering from minor frostbite and snow blindness.

with thanks to:-

This is not necessarily a XXIV story, but it is a Hercules saga, although the captain’s name, Pete Forrester does ring a bell. If you have any background details to add to this story, do “add a comment” to the post.

The thought did occur as to why the Hercules was in that neck of the globe in the first place. Its not as if it was a VC10 a bit of course! The answer was luckily enough a few pages further on in the bulletin. [P269]



Two Royal Air Force Hercules air craft took part in the summer Antarctic airlift with Military Airlift Command Starlifters and Hercules aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The R.N.Z.A.F. completed ten return flights between Christchurch at the beginning of this month; the R.A.F. detachment made 20 flights, the last on December 15.

 Arrangements for British co-operation were made with the Royal Air Force by the United States National Science Foundation. The R.A.F. crews flew home in time for Christmas with something new to talk about in the mess. On December 8 one Hercules flew to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, there to fly round the world three times in 12 minutes.

 Squadron Leader C. M. Quaife arranged a training mission to the South Pole for sentimental reasons. The air craft followed Scott’s route to the Pole up the Beardmore Glacier. A Royal Air Force officer attached to the United States Navy’s VXE6 Squadron flew to the South Pole as a navigator in the 1961-62 season, and on January 6, 1958, Squadron Leader John Lewis flew a single-engined de Havilland Otter from South Ice over the Pole to Scott Base after Sir Vivian Fuchs and his party had left on the second stage of their crossing of the continent. But the flight on December 8 was the first by an R.A.F. Hercules and its crew.

Once again, any additional details would be of interest to our followers.

Operation Khana Cascade

26 February, 2015
Khana Cascade Air Drop

Khana Cascade Air Drop


The usefulness of our Twitter feed was brought home this week with a “tweet” from the Air Historic Branch ( reminding us that on the 25th February 1973, Operation Khana Cascade started.

This was the biggest airlift since the Berlin Airlift and involved 46 Group aircraft dropping around 2,000 tons of grain, maize and rice to Himalayan villages in Nepal due to a very poor harvest.

It did of course involve XXIV Squadron, No’s 14, 47 and 55 Air Despatch Squadron’s from Lyneham and Thorney Island. The aircraft involved flew out via Akrotiri and Masirah and a “Kanvas City” was set up at Bhairawa near the Nepalese border.

I spotted XV’s 217, 281 and XV 202, (now at RAF Museum Cosford) in the IWM film clip and the Detachment Commander was W/C Mike Hardy.

The last drop was 30th March 1973, just over a month from start to finish.

Check those log books and see if you took part in this major famine relief operation and add a few comment to this Blog. (Me, well I had only just arrived at XXIV some 6 months before and still a bit new to be sent out on this one.)

Watch this lovely 16mm film clip on the Imperial War Museum web site, (it takes a while to load) but it will bring back a few memories if you were involved in this or similar Ops over those years.


60 Years of Hercules Thread in PPRuNe network

17 December, 2014

A chance conversation with an old mess and flat mate inevitably ended up talking about times gone by as Hercules aircrew. With so much information on the web, it is no wonder that lots of “stuff” being posted is missed.

He did mention a link to a thread on the PPRuNe network, which is included below, that contains some views, tales and photos you might like to trawl through to keep you amused these short days and long evenings.


Not a traditional “Postcard from the Seaside!”

02 June, 2014
Hawker Hart crash in Scarborough, Aug 1938

Hawker Hart crash in Scarborough, Aug 1938

A very interesting photo of Squadron history was sent in recently by Ian Dewar who came across our Newsletter and thought it would be of interest. It shows the wreckage of a Hawker Hart bi-plane ( 2455) of 24 (Communications) Squadron, RAF – which crashed on the esplanade at Scarborough at 12.30pm of 8th August 1938.The annotation on the reverse includes the detail: Pilot P/O McMonnies and passenger, Air/Commodore G. Bromet.

We also involved our own Squadron historical aircraft expert, Simon Batchelor on the case who was able to add additional information; namely:-

that K2455 was a Hart (C) operated at the time of the crash by 24 Squadron. It is recorded as having crashed into the Italian Gardens in Scarborough after stalling.

Its period at Vickers was when it was converted to the Hart (C) configuration, they differed from ordinary Hart day bomber versions in having a rear cockpit with windshield. This is visible in the wreckage photograph.

As for the tail markings, it was at the time of the changeover from the red & black chevron to the black fighting cock within a six point star. Although the photo is not clear it is thought that it is possible that the Black Fighting cock symbol has been either removed, or painted over.

RAFVR(T) Sqn Ldr Dean and links with XXIV in the 1950’s

24 March, 2014

We have had an email query from Andrew Lister, WO(ATC) of 2168 Yeadon Squadron in Yorkshire and I have promised him a bit of publicity to help his research.

“During the late 1950’s, 2168 was commanded by a Squadron Leader R W Dean who we understand was a pilot with 24 Sqn during the war and possible afterwards. There is mention of a connection to RAF Gatow. The Squadron Leader rank was his rank within the RAFVR(T) in the 1950’s so I’m unsure of his rank whilst in the RAF but hoped you might be able to offer some insight.

During the 1950’s it would appear that cadets from Yeadon worked closely with 24 Sqn which was at RAF Lynham at the time, presumably due to Sqn Ldr Dean’s connections. One cadet that we know of was seconded as supernumerary air crew on Handly Page Hastings flying to RAF Gatow and even as far as Singapore.”

They would be grateful for any information on offer regarding Sqn Ldr Dean and also if any information is known about a link with 2168 cadets. If you can help out, please comment on this post.

Hercules C-130 Handover Ceremony at Cosford Museum

23 September, 2013

On the 13th Sep 2013 the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford held an official handover ceremony for the Lockheed C-130 Hercules XV202 in the presence of Air Marshal Baz North of the Royal Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Ian Corbitt (Rt’d), Sir Michael Marshall, Chairman of Marshalls and former Hercules airmen.

See this Link for the Press Release 
or watch the You Tube clip

and there is more.

Association member, Tim Pembrey can be seen in this longer and more comprehensive clip being interviewed on board Hercules C130 Mk3 XV202 talking about down route on the Hercules to Hong Kong and also a bit about JATFOR.

You Tube clip – C130 in Service


Flight Engineer Memories – On the Squadron during the 70’s

12 September, 2013

This article missed our Issue 20 Newsletter this year due to a bit of an Editorial overload. So in fairness to stalwart Association member Trevor Paterson who put in the effort to write and deliver in person the words about his time on 24 Squadron as a Flight Engineer during the early seventies, it now time to give it a proper airing.

Trev Paterson 2011 Reunion







“After celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain I also feel like One of the Few as Flight Engineers and Navigators are now surplus to requirements on the Hercules J model

So; for the benefit of the present members of the Squadron and previous members on the squadron before and after the seventies I will recall some of the life and activities we enjoyed on the Squadron in the Seventies and whilst at our reunion dinner at Brize Norton I noticed a lot of members and their ladies who were on the Squadron during that period so it was obviously a good time to be on the Squadron as we all wished to continue those friendships by joining the Association!

After completing Air Engineer training at RAF Topcliffe, I was posted to the Hercules at Lyneham in February 1971, and, as there was no conversion places available at that time, I was sent to 24 Squadron to hold until a course became available, Richard Bates was the Squadron C/O at the time, The Engineer Section was run by Jim Bates and I found all the Engineers very helpful, I went on MCT trips, low level trips and the odd route flight, this period was very useful as it gave me confidence before going down to Thorney Island on the conversion course in September 1971 as I was allowed to sit in the seat under supervision on the odd trip!

I arrived back at Lyneham on 24 Squadron in February 1972 with a total of 115 hours, on the A/C. After a few days settling in I was off on my first trip, dropping 1 ton containers across at Keevil, near Melksham, looking at my log book; it seemed we were flying nearly every day for 2 or 3 hours doing MCT or Tactical drops, in my first month on the Squadron I I had done 60 hours flying, so it was quite busy in those days, with my first route trip to Masirah Island, in the Oman, via Akrotiri in Cyprus and as many present here this evening will remember, the first port of call was the Movements shed. There was a little bar there, where all the inbound crews would meet up usually to the coach drivers disgust ; we would spend 2 hours to wind down as our flights were usually early morning departures from The UK. Eventually we would go to our respective accommodation in the messes usually arranging to meet in the evening for a meal at one of the local kebab houses, usually Chris’s.

Next morning it was off to Masirah, where we would meet up with the same Britannia and Belfast Crews we had met at Akrotiri for a few cleansing ales. Sadly, in November 1971 we lost one of our aircraft at Pisa in Italy, with the loss of the crew and a large number of Italian paratroopers a special service was held on the Squadron on 6th November last on the 40th anniversary of the accident where a new Roll of Honour was unveiled with the names of the 6 crew who died in the accident.

Mike Hardy took over command of the Squadron in July 1972 from Richard Bates, we were very lucky in those days as we had very good execs and section leaders and It was a happy time on the Squadron as we had plenty of varied trips and all the sections had a great bunch of guys, if we were not allocated a flying duty or sim.  We would all come into the Squadron, to chat about incidents we had flying, another very popular pastime on the Squadron in those days was the game of UCKERS, there were some really good players, but I did not really understand the game so read my manuals instead!! We had lots of parties because we had a good entertainment committee Roger Payne was our leader and I was the Bar member, there always seemed to be an excuse for a Barrel on a Friday afternoon and as most of us lived in the messes, quarters or in the case of some of the young pilots they had a little pad at Kellaways farm nearby! Therefore driving was not too much of a problem!

The Squadron seemed to be involved with a lot of overseas exercises and Relief operations in the early 70’s I remember Khana Cascade; a relief operation in Nepal and the Pale Jade exercises, a deployment of fighters to the far East through Masirah and Gan to RAAF Tengah in Singapore plus a lot of Squadron deployments to Norway.

Khana Cascade

Khana Cascade

Apart from swanning around the world we also took part in a lot of Low level Tactical exercises, one of these was known as JATFOR; this involved formations of 3 aircraft taking off and forming up when all airborne, sometimes up to 20 aircraft and heading off down to the South west low level route, but quite often the weather would deteriorate, so we would be ordered to PENETRATE this meant climbing up through cloud IN FORMATION, there was a procedure , but we had to hope that everybody was following the same procedure when we broke out of cloud there were aeroplanes everywhere and Air Traffic were going mad! Eventually this foolhardy exercise was given up!

1974 was a memorable year, Clive Evans had taken over command of the Squadron from Mike Hardy and as I mentioned earlier the Squadron was a good socialising Squadron and I remember one such event, in July 1974, Roger Hale, one of the Captains, was having a party in his house in Devizes when his phone rang around midnight, it was Lyneham Ops asking if any crew members were at his party and was told to get them all to report to Lyneham at 7:30 that morning to be sent out to Akrotiri as Passengers as The Turkish Army had invaded the North of Cyprus!

We left Lyneham on a comet of 216 Squadron, arriving in the afternoon at Akrotiri , all the tourists who had been staying at resorts at Famagusta and Kyrenia had been evacuated and were camped on the stations sports fields, Our crew was one of the first to start the evacuation most of the passengers had left their hotels with minimum possessions, just in the clothes they had on at the timer every aircraft was full to max capacity, one of the tricks we learnt as the evacuation progressed, was when French Air traffic asked us on entering French airspace if we had any French nationals on board, we would say Yes even if we did not have any, as they would clear us direct from Nice to Calais!, which saved us about 30 minutes.

Another memorable event that year was the Crosscheck exercise with No 435 Sqn RCAF at Namao, near Edmonton in Canada, we took 2 aircraft; Roger Payne, Roger Hale, Dick Gould and Phil Sharman were the Captains and W/C Clive Evans led the party, we had some really interesting flying and Socialising, with a trip up to Whitehorse in the Yukon, which I am sure those reading this will recall with good memories of that exercise.

1975 was another year which brings back fond memories, 7O Squadron had been withdrawn from Akrotiri, so it was decided to set up a Hercules detachment at Akrotiri, I was lucky to be asked to go on the 24 Squadron Crew, with Roger Payne as my Captain for the month of February. We did a lot of flying mainly down to Masirah and Salalah, with the odd trip to Seeb, Bahrain, Malta, Khartoum and Nairobi, for some reason, which I cannot remember, we picked up £5 in allowances when we went to Seeb or Salalah, which helped our social activities back at Akrotiri, where we had made friends with some of the staff of MPBW, who had their own club, and we spent a lot of very enjoyable evenings with them in their club!.

The Canadians came to Lyneham in April 1975 for a Return Crosscheck exercise, again an excellent week of Flying and socialising. Also in 1975 there was a Dock Strike and we had a crew detached to Kinloss in Scotland and we flew food and animal fodder, mainly hay to Kirkwell and Sumburgh in the Shetlands from Leuchars and Lossiemouth for a few days.

Another interesting trip that year was a trip out to Hong Kong to take a company of Ghurkhas up to Korea, to act as The Honour Guard at Panmunjom on the Korean border. We landed at the USAF base at Osan, and stayed overnight in Seoul , the hotel we stayed at was the Hamilton Hotel in Itowan, very nice with a large bar and dance hall, we thought it a bit strange that towards midnight the girls were offering to buy us drinks Malcolm Maltby the Captain; thought this was a bit odd so I asked the Army Officer from the Embassy, who was looking after us was this the norm, he then told us that there was a Curfew from Midnight till 6am in Seoul, due to the short distance from the Border with the North, and they were probably looking for somewhere to stay till the morning!! So He ordered us to refuse their hospitality as we were representing The UK and therefore should avoid any bad publicity!

1976 was my final year on the Squadron before being posted across to 242 OCU, one event that comes to mind was the First  Belize War as it was colloquially known, Guatemala, a neighbour had threatened to take over the country, so Britain deployed troops and Harrier jets to deter them, so we flew down there via Gander and Nassau in the Bahamas, I was on Pete Elders crew and all we did was the Nassau-Belize shuttle for 10 days Staying at the Nassau Beach hotel, which I expect some members will remember the Harvey Wallbangers whereas other crews were unlucky to be doing the Nassau-Gander-Lyneham shuttle!

My final swansong on the Squadron was a States trainer which unfortunately was required to return home via Barbados to pick-up a load, where we had a Real prop gitz seal leak and had to spend 3 days there

I really enjoyed my time on 24 Squadron in the seventies, which am sure you can realise it was a lot different for life on the Squadron in the 90’s and today, but the experience gained in those early years helped me to continue my career as Flight

Engineer later on 10 Squadron VG 10’s and in civil aviation with Cathay Pacific for 20 years on Tri-Star’s and the747.

RAF Museum Hercules film

29 January, 2013

We have quite an interesting request that should appeal to a broad number of our members, as it concerns those with a bit of Hercules experience. All the info is below and feel free to contact Ewan direct. He says:-

“I am writing to ask if any 24 Squadron Association members might be able to help us.

The RAF Museum has recently accepted a Hercules aircraft into its collections, and we are currently working on new Hercules exhibitions in order to display the aeroplane to best effect.

Part of this project involves the production of a short film about the Hercules in RAF service and we are hoping to contact Hercules air and ground crews who would be prepared to participate in this.

Would any association members be prepared to be interviewed on camera about their Hercules experience, for inclusion in the film? People who have participated in the Falklands War, the Gulf Wars and operations in Afghanistan would be of particular interest but we would be very glad to hear from anybody with operational Hercules experience.

If any of your members would be interested, or if there are any further questions, I can be contacted at or on 0208 358 4866.

Thank you in advance for your help with this, it is greatly appreciated.”

Ewan Burnet Curator of Film and Sound RAF Museum, Hendon


Hercules XV 216 – Propeller Recovery off Pisa

30 August, 2012
Hercules XV 216 - Propeller Recovery off Pisa

Hercules XV 216 – Propeller Recovery off Pisa










We thought you might want to see this extraordinary photograph (above) which was sent to W/C Tim Jones early this year by Col Badialetti of the 187° Reggimento Paracadutisti in Pisa. Some fishermen operating off the coast of Livorno found what appears to be one of the propellers from XV216. It certainly looks like the genuine article and was found in an area which matches the grid co-ordinates of the crash site.

The Squadron were about to dispatch a K propeller blade to Italy to form part of an enduring memorial that the Regiment want to create to commemorate the lives who were lost. It now appears that fate has had a better idea. The Colonel has proposed using this prop for the memorial, which was thought to be very fitting.


This topic will form part of our Chairman’s report at the 2012 AGM.