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The Royal Air Force

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THE HANDLEY PAGE HASTINGS

RAF Transport Command Hastings aircraft were operated with a crew of 5 made up of Pilot (left hand seat), Co-pilot (right hand seat), the Navigator sat to the rear of the pilot and sat behind the navigator, the Signaller (Radio Operator) and behind the Co-pilot sat the Air/Flight Engineer. A further crew member the Air Quarter Master (AQM) when required had a work station which was situated between the forward cabin bulkhead and the Radio/Electronics compartment, this housed a wash basin and a tea making area. Opposite was situated a crew toilet and wardroom.

In the cabin/fuselage was a spacious cylindrical area with little or no soundproofing made of quilted fabric, in flight the noise was quite intolerable where a normal conversation could not be heard unless one raised their voice considerably. This area was used for a multi-purpose role. Passengers (max 50) with rearward facing seats, freight or a mix of the two, or for paratrooping (32 in number plus gear), the latter sat in spartan seats running parallel either side of the fuselage, the para exit doors were offset to prevent parachutists colliding, but this was not always preventable. In the CASEVAC role 32 stretchers could be slung from the top of the fuselage in tiers of three and anchored to the plywood floor whilst the ‘walking wounded’ could hold up to 28 seated. Nursing attendants would be fully trained in the care of the wounded and these were manned by staff from the PMRAF hospital at RAF Wroughton, Wiltshire which was conveniently placed near to RAF Lyneham. (I do know that the nursing staff were trained to evacuate the wounded in the event of a crash landing, this included practicing survival techniques in the public swimming baths at nearby Swindon, thankfully they were never asked to undertake this task in real life!).

There were two paratroop doors either side of the fuselage plus a large freight door fitted to the port side, the Mark C.4 Very Important Person (VIP) version, of which four were built did not have this door. There has often been a debate whether the Hastings would have been better off with a nosewheel, as in the sister aircraft the HP Hermes rather than a tailwheel. It is thought that the Army preferred a tailwheel configuration for ease of loading, try telling that to the guys that had to load them!

On many an occasion I was present (and sometimes used to lend a shoulder when required) when the Air Movements bods had to rig up trestles and ramps from the ground to the freight door, with the incline of the interior somewhere between 25-30 degrees this movement had to be undertaken with a series of rollers and hand winches to haul the freight on board, then shackled to the plywood floor. This operation could take longer than the turnround servicing. The weight had to be distributed exactly with a Trimsheet i.e. the heaviest of the load had to be placed over the wing floor beam girders or forward to the cabin bulkhead, with either passengers or lighter freight to the rear of the aircraft. http://www.air-movements.ex-raf.org.uk/ for more information.

From my own experiences I have seen vehicles within, bofor guns, aircraft engines etc.

The Mk. C.1 Hastings originally had 101 series Bristol Hercules Engines fitted whilst the Mk. C.2 had the 106 series. The Mk.1 differed from the Mk.2 only in that the tail plane was situated higher up the fuselage and was small in area than the C.2. Those mark C.1’s that were subsequently modified had increased fuel capacity by means of underslung wing tip tanks and some had the tail plane configuration changed to a Mk.C2. These were redesignated Mk.C.1A.


Variants included the last six of the Hastings C.Mk 1 contract, which were completed as Hastings Met.Mk 1 aircraft for weather reconnaissance duties with Coastal Command, and eight Hastings C.Mk 1s which were converted as bomb aimer trainers for service with the Bomber Command Bombing School. Designated Hastings T.Mk 5, they had a large ventral radome and were equipped with radar bomb-sight equipment. The Hastings was retired from service with RAF Transport Command in early 1968, then being replaced by the Lockheed Hercules. Company designations H.P.94 and H.P.95 were allocated to the Hastings C.Mk 4 and Hastings C.Mk 3 respectively.

Specifications:Type: Long-range general-purpose transport

Powerplant: Four 1,675 hp Bristol Hercules 106 14-cylinder radial piston engines

Performance: Maximum speed: 348 mph at 22,200 ft

Cruising speed: 302 mph

Service ceiling: 26,500 ft

Range with normal payload: 1,690 miles

Weights: Empty: 48,427 lb

Maximum take-off: 80,000 lb

Dimensions: Span: 113 ft 0 in

Length: 82 ft 8 in

Height: 22 ft 6 in

Wing area: 1,408.0 sq ft

 

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Many thanks to these contributors and sources of information

The Royal Air Force, The RAF Museum Hendon, The Imperial War Museum (Duxford), The Royal New Zealand Air Force, The Royal Australian Air Force, The Royal Canadian Air Force, The Meteoroligical Office, 24 Squadron Association, 36 Squadron Association, 70 Squadron Association, The Handley Page Association, ‘Hastings & Hermes’ by Victor F Bingham, The Air Force List, ‘To Fly No More’ & ‘The Last Take Off ’ both by Colin Cummings, The Air Historical Branch, ‘RAF Lyneham’ by Wilf Pereira, Google Web Pages, Pete Flounders, Jim Duncan, John Fenton, Denis Williams, Dave Bloomfield, Stewart Tucker, John Castle, Ron Tucker, Andy Mutch, Leon Smith, Alex Carrie,

My Association with the HP Hastings

Shortly after joining No.2189 (Calne) Squadron Air Training Corps I realised that this would give me a fantastic opportunity to get some experience of flying, I lived with my father, mother, brother and sister in a married quarter at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire. My father asked if I would like a trip in a Hastings, he had flown to the Canal Zone, to Kenya where there was a Mau Mau uprising and various other places and I thought I would like some of this action, well I wasn’t able to fly out of the country but I was able to fly on these two hour continuation trips that Lyneham operated with their aircrews.

At the age of 14 all I had to do was to get my father to sign an indemnity form for the RAF, wear my cadet uniform and report to Air Traffic Control, the rest was basically climbing on board a Hastings and off into the deep blue yonder. On the 24th of July 1953 I took the first of these trips in TG530, this first time was a cross country trip lasting two hours, an amazing experience for a 14 year old. None of my school chums had done this as most modes of transport for RAF families serving overseas was still by troopship.

The people who lived around us were all service families some were Master Pilots (Warrant Officer rank) some were signallers, navigators, flight engineers or AQM’s others were technical or other trades associated with the RAF. My father was a Fitter IIE when he arrived at RAF Lyneham from RAF Upper Heyford in 1950, he went on a man management course for 6 months at RAF Millom and was promoted to Warrant Officer i/c ASF (Aircraft Servicing Flight). Everything centred around the Hastings aircraft, my back bedroom window faced parallel with a runway, so if the wind direction was right I saw a plethora of aircraft coming and going. The number of the house I lived in was 14 Hastings Drive! I lived for a Hastings and very nearly died in one, in fact my last flight in the RAF was in a Hastings on 14th November 1968 returning from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire to RAF Wattisham, Suffolk.

I flew in them by day and night, I very nearly clocked up 100 flying hours in them, at Watchfield we dropped two underslung jeeps by parachute, I even took control of one in the left hand seat for 20 minutes. I recall the continuation training, you take off do a circuit or two, make a final approach, touch and go again, often you would have to have the tyres checked at the end of the runway by a rigger, he would check for cuts, bulges and wear, plus that the tyre pressures were correct. All the time on the move on the ground you would hear the hiss of the pneumatic brakes biting on the brake discs, the additional power surge from two of the engines to turn the kite back on the track.

A blue and yellow electronic ‘Stop follow me Jeep’ (Land Rover) would pave the way for the pilot to take the aircraft back to the runway or dispersal. The nose up attitude of a Hastings on the ground must really have been at an elevation of 25 - 30 degrees, I realised this angle only too well at Duxford, Cambs some three years back. In those days you were fit and young and nothing got in your way, but a dickey heart and a few old bones 50 years later takes its toll!

Learning about the Hobson RAE Injector almost ad nauseum and I still never fully understood it, but Mrs Shillings orifice did brighten up proceedings a tad! The magneto drops and how to clear them was a different story especially if you were not within earshot of any technical officer, both magneto switches off at the same time and then BANG! back on again simultaneously, the panacea for all ills! Or the After Flight inspection where you found a broken exhaust stub or worst still if you found one on a Before Flight inspection knowing one of your colleagues had missed it.

The refuelling was best left to the other trades to do (yes we all mucked in like a team), the fuel cap covers removed with a GS screwdriver if the Dzus fastener wire wasn’t broken or the screwdriver slot that no longer had a slot had to prised up and co-erced round! The 100 octane AVGAS was delivered from bowser to aircraft tank, with a brass nozzle and a click over lever for convenience whilst always earthing the nozzle to the wing by crocodile clip. Mainly these were ‘all up’ loads so you just informed whoever was doing the refuelling to ‘fill her up’ if the Flight Engineer (Gingerbeer as we knew them) wanted a specific load then it was down to the engine bod to dip the tanks with a small epee like dipstick which would inform you quite accurately the amount of fuel in each tank. This would always be followed up with a fuel gauge check on the Engineers console just to make doubly sure the correct fuel load was applied. Once the brass tank castellated screw caps were replaced and tightened it was time to replace the cover assuming you could get those overworn Dzus fasteners to work. All complete, then was the time to sign the Aircraft Log the RAF Form 700, I wonder how many times I put my signature to this form?

If the outward appearance of the engine cowlings looked clean, ie not sooty but looked the colour of a hazelnut then all was usually well, but to hear a spluttering engine did not bode well, oil leaks would have to be investigated, oil scavenge filters dropped and checked for ‘foreign bodies’ and replaced or out would come the engine to be replaced by another. Propellers were by and large OK, it was the spinner back plate that caused the problems, this also had large circular holes in to assist in the cooling of the cylinders. the slightest crack then off would come the prop to replace the aluminium spinner back plate and then replace the prop.

But perhaps the worst job was to be on the wing either refuelling or rectifying a snag in the noon day sun in the desert. No shelter, just searing heat, I recall the shade temperature in a Ghibley (sandstorm) at El Adem where the temperature was 115F, the heat of the aluminium through your bondu boots was quite unbearable and then to be sandblasted at the same time is all part of lifes’ quirks of fate!

This subject can be discussed here http://RAFForum.activeboard.com/

'The Queen of the Skies'
 
 

Take a seat on a Hastings…….preferably mine!

 

Not really a lot to tell re my Hastings flights, other than the fact it was a bit of a culture shock after flying civilian airlines from London to Hawaii.   There were only 3 of us, service personnel, flying out on the Thursday before Good Friday in 1958.   London to New York, change planes, then to Los Angeles with a re-fuelling stop in
Dallas/Fort Worth (long enough to get off the plane at the airport).   Four
hours to kill in Los Angeles (we wandered outside the airport, got picked up
in police car, and were returned safely to the airport lounge) and then the
flight to Hawaii.


Because it was Easter, no Hastings flights to Christmas Island until the
Tuesday, so 4 days holiday in Hawaii, staying at the American Armed Forces
Y.M.C.A. in downtown Honolulu.  (It was still there when I was in Hawaii in
1988 as part of my 'Round the World' tour....but that's another story.)  
Then, it was report to USAF Hickam, and the somewhat sparse interior surroundings
of the Hastings.  However, we were assured of the excellent safety record
(not so sure after glancing through your website.).   I did manage another
return trip to Hawaii for a couple of weeks 'leave' (detachment was the
official term), but my return flight to U.K. was on a Comet, with an
overnight stop in Vancouver, and a re-ruelling stop in Goose Bay, Labrador
before landing at Stanstead.
 
Tony Goodacre
 
 
I was stationed at RAF Mauripur Staging Post 1954-56. My main function on Air Movements was raising the weight and balance sheets for the various Hastings passing thru. UAH to Aussie; USH to Changi and UKH to Kai Tak.There would be an arrival pretty well every day sometimes just one; other days four or five. Never had any major problems but if a UAH had one then the load would be transferred to another Hastings or parts cannabalised from it if no spares weren't in stores
as a UAH had priority over any other Hastings. Sometimes we had a problem with overweight; a Hastings arriving from Negombo full all up weight would need extra fuel for the next hop to Habbaniya due to head winds. The pilot by now feet up in the officers mess would be told and he would tell us to "lose" a few things so the balance sheet would be made up with no water and a few other things.The pilot would sign the sheet at 80,000 pounds when in fact it was 82,000; the duty Air Movements Officer would sign too but he hadn't a clue what he was signing anyway!

Happy days

John Holloway
 
 
Just found your excellent Hastings site, terrific!  I served on FEC's 1960-62 as a 'flying spanner' on TG507 and WJ333, both modified to VIP standard.
I was very interested to read of Hastings engines cutting out. One morning I arrived late to work as TG 507 was taxying out for a post service air test. We heard the engines being checked out at the end of the runway, a slight delay, then power for take-off, we thought, a few seconds later, silence! We waited for the crash, nothing. Then we were told by the tower to go and tow her back to dispersal. After much investigation, it was discovered that the Graviner system had been incorrectly set during the service, and the vibration of the engines had set it off, killing all four engines! Fortunately there had been a mag. drop, and the pilot had tried to 'burn' it off, we estimated that had the mag. drop not been there, the aircraft would have just got airborne before the engines cut. To add to the drama, as there were insuficient 'ballast boxes available, half the squadron ground crew were on board.
regards Pete F
 
 
I can't recall the specific Hercules engine on a RAF kite, Hastings, Bristol Freighter, or Valetta where if the engine was coughing & spluttering we would do a full plug change and if that didn't cure it when ground running said engine we would turn off both magneto switches simultaneously, huge BANG. But it seemed to work, I guess always out of ear shot of engineering officers and the ilk as this was strictly against the rules!
 
John Cooper
 
 
No need to SHOUT! I've only been flying in one of these for 8 hours and what about the Khasi, that was something different. Time for a smoke methinks. Today these fliers don't know how we all roughed it.

1066 and all that, meaning Hastings!
 
Jim Baker
 
 
Sometime in the mid 1960's a Hastings hit the sea off Cyprus. Both inboard sets of props were damaged (ie peeled back like a banana skin) but thankfully she made it to Akrotiri on two engines. I have a photo of the bent props in situ and also the pilots name who shall forever and a day remain anonymous with me. What I am looking for is more info on this subject, we have narrowed the index number down to TG521 or TG524, a date would also help as varying dates have ben suggested over a period of 8 years. I'm sure there is someone out there that knows someone who knows someone that..........!
 
John Cooper
 
 

I remember this story - I was a signaller on 36 sqn Hastings from late 1965 to mid 1967. My first operational flights were on a detachment to RAF Nicosia where I heard the tale - the story, at the time, went along the lines of a captain telling his co-pilot that he'd 'show him how to fly low over the water '!! If I remember rightly, the inboard props were just 9" lower than the outboards ! Don't remember any names.

Les Lawson

 

Hello John,

I was a member of the Royal Navy, and served in the Far East during the Early 60's, But the Story I would like to tell was a Hastings stationed at Lagos, Nigeria. I was a member of a Naval Party on Ascension Island in 1962, we were flown off the Island by a Hastings to Lagos to catch a flight back to the UK. The pilot told us that they headed for the nearest point of land which was Ghana (Gold Coast) and then flew down the coast to Lagos. I think he just tried to wind us up a bit, when he said in case they have to ditch, we will be near land.

Kind regards

Ken UK

 

 

Have read your page with interest, I recount my experience as a passenger on Hastings TG502 whilst on the ground at Ottawa, Canada in the winter of 1966/7.
At the time, I was a Senior Technician in the RAF, based at Boscombe Down. We were support crew to a Vulcan (XH 606) doing cold weather trials at CEPE Cold Lake, in Northern Alberta. The general procedure was for the Vulcan to fly ahead and the ground crew to follow in a Hastings, which was either TG500 or TG502, which were both used as support aircraft at Boscombe Down at the time.
This aircraft had made the trip to Cold lake, many times without incident, and an overnight stay at Ottawa was part of their usual itinerary, were the aircraft was left outside for the night. After boarding the aircraft for take off from Ottawa, the usual crew checks were being carried, out before start up, when the captain emerged and asked for the rear door to be opened and the boarding ladder lowered. After a few minutes, he called for everyone to disembark, which we all did. It was quite cold, about minus 20, but not unusually so for the time of year. Since all passengers were either engineers or technicians we gathered around to be shown the problem. The captain explained that he had been unable to move the elevators when checking the controls from the cockpit, which was a mandatory pre-flight check, hence is sudden disembarkation to find the reason. We all observed that the normal gap between the elevator and its surrounding tailplane was none-existent, and therefore the elevator and tailplane were seized together. A Special Incident Report (SIR) was raised and the aircraft towed in to the heated hanger.
Within 10 minutes, the previously, none-existent gap had opened to over 8mm, and the elevators were free. Since several airframe men on board had experience of rectification modifications to the Elevator Horns which had caused at least one previous crash of a Hastings, they were none too happy to leave things as they were! The last rib of the tailplane was therefore moved about 10mm away from the elevator, and the now spare metal trimmed flush, leaving a gap that could easily accommodate a hand thickness. Thoughts were voiced about this happening at 7000 feet, which was our normal cruising altitude and the resulting inability to control our altitude by normal means! We carried on to Cold Lake, via Winnipeg, without incident and the same aircraft made the same trip many times later. Why it happened this one time, no one seems to know. It was concluded that freak weather conditions had caused it, but I always thought that the air at 7000 feet was always colder than at sea level, were Ottawa, on the St Lawrence Seaway is located!.
Hope you found this interesting. Has anyone heard of a similar occurence?

 

Peter Kay

 

 

I don't know what you might consider an 'interesting story' about that old work horse but in the 4 years I worked on them they certainly clocked up some air miles doing a variety of jobs from troop transport....I was at Lyneham during the Suez crisis and saw troop movements at that time,to CaseVac jobs airlifting sick and wounded, and I did a short spell on Mobile Servicing Flight at Edinburgh Field, Adelaide, sending supplies up to Maralinga where they were testing the H bomb.
At Edinburgh Field we were resposible for keeping two Hastings aircraft fully servicable at all times to keep the supplies flowing to Maralinga.
I once spent all night , with other trades of course, doing an engine change, the old Hercules engine, so it was ready for the early morning daily trip.
We had a good relationship with the aircrew who kept us supplied with refreshments, mainly liquid if my memory serves me right and we all did a good job for 6 months in 1958.
We flew back to Lyneham in the Hastings stopping at Darwin, Changi, Negombo, Karachi, Habanniya, El Adem and home. Took me a total of 6 days to get back and God wasn't the inside of a Hastings loud and noisy. I had flown out in a Comet and it had taken 26 hours what a difference!!
Later in 1963 when I was on 43 Squadron with Hunters, the squadron did a trip to Athens to 'show the flag' as it were, and all the ground crew and kit etc went out by...yes you guessed it , the good old Hastings.

Keith Griffiths

Another story of that time came to mind about one of our bods towing one of the big jacks into the no 2 hangar. The doors were just open enough for the tractor to get through but there was a Hastings parked just inside, it's tail towards the door. The problem was that we all knew the David Brown tractor would fit under the elevators if you ducked your head, but he forgot the jack on the back which didn't. It ended nearly up to the leading edge of the elevators and he got taken away in 'chains'.
One of my jobs was the ground equipment in the no 1 hangar to see the trolley acc's were always charged at least 4 hours a day, air bottles full, tyres OK etc. For this I got 4 gallons jerry can of M.T. fuel. In those days of fuel rationing this had red dye in it as only commercial vehicles could use it. The civvy' Police outside would stop anyone to check the carby' for red stains. If there were any you were for the high jump. Our fuel ration for a motor cycle was about two gallons a month so extra was always useful. We found that we had some left over from this supply and didn't like to waste it. This especially as we were washing the hanger floors with 44 gallon drums of drained 100 octane a/c fuel. This was no good for bikes as it leaded up the spark plug.. What we did find out was that if we got a big stale loaf of bread from out the back of the cookhouse it would solve the problem. All you had to do was pour it through the end of the loaf longways,. This loaf was put into a funnel and the fuel drained into one of the Pyrene 2 gallon brass cans. These were scrounged from out the back of the fire department. It came out white and clean and pure and enabled some of us to go on a 48 hour pass now and again.

 

Anon ex Lyneham

 

 

Seeing that you are a Hastings buff I thought you might like a couple of stories re' them.These are from Lyneham in 1950/51. When tyre checking at night one of our bods when checking the tail wheel heard a noise from up inside the tail wheel bay. This Hastings was doing night flying and circuits and bumps which happened most nights. To check on this noise he climbed up into the tail wheel bay for a quick look. As the a/c had back tracked on the runway it was ready for take off. The problem was that the pilot didn't wait for the torch to be waved to tell him all tyres were OK. He opened up the engines and away he went with our man up in the tail wheel bay. You may remember that at that time the tail wheel was fixed down due to u/c problems. This was lucky as he stood with a foot on either side of the bay and held on tight. After twenty minutes or so the a/c landed and went back to the caravan at the end of the runway. Our man did another tyre check, waved him off and went back into the van to rest. The controller asked where he had been and then the S*** really hit the fan. The crew was grounded and a major investigation took place as you can imagine. Number two story, one of our bods doing night tyre checking ran out and miss judged his distances. He ran straight into the outer prop which didn't do him much good. The first thing the crew knew was when they checked outside with an Aldis to see what was happening and saw him all over the perry track. Those wheel checks were always a bit dicey, especially in the dark.  There wasn't much room between you and the props.

 

Anon ex Lyneham

 

 

In my time we flew through Negombo then a RAF transit base. The last trip I did in a Hastings was back to UK in 52. We got stuck at Maripur for a week for an engine change. This was after two attempts to leave. Each try meant 1800 gls of fuel dumped to get back in. When at Lyneham in 50 we lost a Hastings at El Adem near Benghazi. The inner engine fell half off after a prop blade went into the cabin. This took out a crew member. The a/c power failed right on approach and it went in. One engine took out the crew but the 24 pax walked away due to rearward facing seats. 

Bob Ashley

 

 

 

I have very fond memories of the Hastings during my National Service as an Instrument Basher on Tech Wing RAF Topcliffe servicing nearly new Aircraft for the Berlin Airlift. At Winthorpe Air Museum near Newark is an aircraft which I actually worked on, a real journey down memory lane!

Harlan Senior

 

 

I was particularly interested to see the account of the aircraft that hit the sea off Cyprus as I had been recalling this tale in a 'war story' session only a couple of days ago. The incident must have happened around March or April 1966. The aircraft was TG575 ( a pig of a ship that would not fly with tip tanks fitted) and the area was, I believe, off Dhekelia. I was one of the riggers sent from Nicosia to recover 575 from Akrotiri (We had to sort out the undercarriage and do retractions because, after losing both inboard engines, there was no hydraulic power available [pumps on 2 & 3 engines only] and the gear was blown down using the emergency pneumatics. As I recall, both inboard engines sheared the reduction gear (not surprising!) and the 2 outers were overboosted to get enough height to reach Akrotiri. There was much debate back at Nicosia (at least amongst we lower orders) as to whether the Captain should be court martialled or given a Green Endorsement. In the end the powers that were decided to CM him and he got a fine (34-0-6 rings a bell) for damaging Hastings Aircraft TG575, the property of Her Majesty. About 20 flying hours later, TG575 landed at El Adem and, as you report elsewhere, the undercarriage collapsed. As an apocryphal tailpiece to this story, 575 was dragged off the runway at El Adem and dumped somewhere in sight of the transit aircraft dispersal. Some months later a lady being repatriated to UK was boarding a Hastings for the flight to Cyprus when she spotted the remains of 575. "Isn't that one of these" she asked one of the movers. "Yes" he said. "Then I'm not going" she said and promptly disembarked. The remains of 575 were subsequently moved to a less conspicuous position!

 

John Luxton

 

 

In October 1956 I flew as a passenger from Lyneham to Singapore in a Hastings. The flight took 5 days but was uneventful, although my eardrums never fully recovered from sitting a few feet from No 3 engine all that time!

Bob May 

 

I recall my flight home to the UK in a Hastings aircraft that had departed RAF Changi and was attempting to land at Katunayake, the Hastings had a reserve crew (slipping crew), the pilot made three attempts at landing, aborted the first two and when finally landing on the third attempt, the (reserve) crew stood up and clapped and cheered!

John Joyce 

I don’t remember how I found this site but as ex RN I travelled in a Hastings as a passenger from Lyneham to Maralinga in 1958 it started in February, foggy, cold, hangar doors frozen, a fuel of some sort was splashed around and lit, it worked so we set off to El Adem, noise was not a real problem as we were mostly engineroom staff and used to it, ear defenders came a lot later, bit of a bumpy landing but the pilot managed to get the other wheel down in the end, not sure if we stayed the night but next stop was Cyprus, RAF were living under canvas and it was raining we were expected to join them, but we found the spare crew quarters were unoccupied so we moved in this proved to be unpopular with the senior officer of the camp so I received an official bollicking and off we went to get over the Turkish mountains this was unsuccessful, we iced up and couldn’t get sufficient height to get over so we had to come back, we kept a low profile and next day had another go successfully, had another stop but can't remember the name then it was off to Karachi and a hotel . Boxed meals still the same though boiled egg, chicken leg, bit of lettuce it didn't change. The whole trip to Maralinga took seven days, coming back a year later started out the same, Hastings to Changi we developed an engine problem but struck lucky a Comet was going to UK and was able to take us, so instead of days it was hours, I still like flying in propeller driven planes, it was a real life times achievement for a Submariner.

My regards

Don Lawrence

 

I have found my log book, but not the photos, (I'll keep looking) On the 19/7/61 in TG507 we were on our way up to Kimpo in Korea. On the leg Kai Tak, to Kadena, we were out over the sea, clear blue sky. I had gone forward from the galley, just aft of the rest area, to get the drinks order from the crew, Frank Chapman, the engine fitter, was making some soup. I was stood between the pilots, when all of a sudden, I just seemed to hover for a second and then was thrown forward on to the throttle quadrant knocking the throttles forward! both pilots, Ted Anderz and 'Ash' Hugget, grabbed me and threw me bodily off, and I ended up on the floor almost back in the galley! Poor old Frank was covered in hot soup, and the Air Quartermaster, Ken Gorham, who was in one of the lounges knocked his head on the cabin roof. Once I recovered, I went forward again, and the Skipper, Ted Anderz, said we had hit a massive air pocket and last 800'! I had knocked the throttles forward to full power, and the engines were screaming! The engineer, 'Hank' Hancock, thought he was seeing things when he saw the throttles shoot forward for no apparent reason. the rest of the trip was uneventful.

Pete Flounders

My trip was from Lyneham to Changi in a Hastings in 1955 and took 5 days with overnight trips at Idris, Habbaniya, Mauripur and Negombo. I remember that at Mauripur, the first item of issue was a bicycle, since vast distances existed between the buildings. The story (but never authenticated to my knowledge) was that local contractors were employed by the Air Ministry for the buildings and the intended site measurements in feet were mistakenly converted to yards-making it a good half mile to the cookhouse!

Gordon Miles

 

I was at Gan 1966/67, and had the pleasure of a trip to Singapore and back in the dreaded hasty bird. I seem to recall we flew at about 10000 feet and we were in an out the bottom of the clouds which meant it got rather bumpy at times. The only place we could have a smoke was up forward in the galley

Phil Barnes

 

'1066'  Squadron

I do seem to remember that at least two of the aircraft had "Cod War" stickers (Yes,the fish) on them from doing maritime patrols during the dispute with Iceland .

My memories of the Hastings are mainly of flying with them as supernumerary crew , which to a 17 year old was brilliant as I got paid extra (crew pay) for the honour.

I remember one of the flights was to Stornoway to pick up Salmon for the officers mess and others , think that was classed as a training flight (nav-ex).

Another was to Marham where we did six flights for Air Cadets air experience flights, I think after going round in circles all day I was a bit greener around the gills than the air cadets ! 

On a more personal note I served all my 4 1/2 years at Scampton with POL, BSA and FAPS sections of stores and 2 years with 617 squadron. So if anyone drops and recognizes me from that time please ask them to get in touch.

Seasons greetings and thanks John.

Chris Barrow.

 

From Roy Bristow

Dear John;
Here is an extra dimension to your Hastings stories ( or should I say the lack of one)
In 1955 I was returning to the U.K. after completing my tour with 80 Squadron at Kai Tak.At Singapore I found that I was most unusually the only fit person apart from the crew and Princess Marys nursing staff on a CASEVAC Hastings flight. For some unacountable reason this was totally unacceptable to the senior nurse who seemed to regard me as some sort of malingerer.As a consquence none of the free goodies courtesy of the New Zealand Government, being distributed ever reached my row and often not the lunch box either.At every night stop after supervising her charges onto ambulances I was pointed in the vague direction of the camp and told to find my own accomodation and be back at first light.This led to some interesting temporary homes not used since the Indian Mutiny I can tell you. Realising early that my KD would be totally inadequate for an October arrival home, I asked each night for access to my kit bag in the aircraft hold and each night it was refused.


At the final stop Malta and yet another refusal I took matters into my own hands and bribed the fellow ground crew Corporal with the promise of two pints to get the kit bag and place it under my seat for the following morning. After take off with the 'angels of mercy' busy pushing pills I made my way with my load the size of a medium beer barrel to the one toilet and entered.Those who will know the Hastings will know that the space is minescule even for its intended purpose let alone what I was attempting.. I was only possible to get in at all by placing the kit bag on the toilet seat before locking the door and then attempting to get all my clothes off first before trying to retrieve items from the kit bag in a lucky dip mode. It was just as as I was totally naked that my plan began to come apart at the seams. An Army Major suffering from a nasty case of dysentry and galloping DT's became alarmed by the take off and made his way urgently to where I was ensconced. Unable to gain access he began to beat on the door and demand to be let immediately, which shortly subsided to whining entreaties and just hand slapping. This left me in something of a quandary. Was I to accede to a superior officer and as a consquence be obliged to stand with my gorgeous body in full view of all for a probably protracted period, or was I to attempt to put back on all that I had just struggled to get off, or alternatively was I to accept that I had certainly had long outstanding presidence and that possesion is after all nine points of the law even to a lowly Corporal and become temporarily deaf.


When I finally emerged in my badly creased and tarnished buttoned finery it was to find my friend the nursing sister mopping up the worst of the result of my decision.As it also happened to be my 25th birthday I felt that some modicum of justice had eventually prevailed.

When we landed and I walked into transit there was a pleasent surprise when waiting there was an officer pilot from my Squadron who had been repatriated some months earlier. We exchanged greetings and shook hands and then he looked me over and said "Good God Bristow you look even worse than usual!" and then added after further thought "And what on earth is that awful smell?" I hadn't the heart to even begin to tell him. 

Roy Bristow


 

Finland

More stories like this can be found here http://RAFForum.activeboard.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi, I was at Habbaniya from 1949-51, with No. 2 Armoured Car Squadron of the RAF Regiment, I was there when Persia [as Iran was then called] had a coup de tate and an emergency came up and we were given a "crash" course in re-fuelling Hastings in case the British had to leave the oil refineries in a hurry, this Flt Sgt put us on edge by giving us a demo: of how easy it was to start a fire, he took aviation spirit and put it in a metal dust bin lid, took us way back and we had to throw stones at it and when one hit it the spark caused an explosion that really put the wind up us [talk about dirty pants], anyway before we had learned the art of earthing the bowzer everything calmed down and it past off peacefully. Those people of the oil companies did not know how lucky they were they might been better off staying there, that was my story about Hastings, when my tour was up I left Habbaniya as I arrived in an Avro Anson for Egypt and from there a converted York bomber for home, and what a trip that was!!!

So wishing you all well Ted [taffy] Bishop.

 


 

Hastings and Hermes flights I undertook.

Hastings as an ATC Cadet up to 1955  

 

 

 

24071953 TG530 2.00

27071953 WJ343 6.00

29071953 TG530 2.00

06081953 WJ334 4.50

07081953 TG607 1.30

08081953 TG607 4.00

10081953 TG528 2.00

11081953 WJ330 4.00

01031954 WD477 4.00

24031954 TG512 2.15

04041955 WJ343 2.00

06041955 TG531 1.15

14041955 TG531 1.30

14041955 TG616 2.05

06071955 TG531 0.10

11071955 TG616 2.35

18071955 TG616 2.15

21071955 TG524 2.20

28071955 TG529 3.40

22081955 TG536 1.00

25081955 TG513 2.00

26081955 TG521 2.00

29081955 TG553 2.00

30081955 WJ337 2.00

01091955 WJ337 2.05

08091955 TG616 2.00

16121958 TG531 7.45

07051959 TG520 7.50

14051959 WJ336 7.40

21051959 TG525 4.05

04061959 TG536 2.55

01031960 TG579 3.40

13111968 TG536 0.40

14111968 TG505 0.40

 

25011958 G-ALDC 6.00

26011958 G-ALDC 4.05

02021958 G-ALDC 4.00

02021958 G-ALDC 5.45

03021958 G-ALDC 2.55

03021958 G-ALDC 3.25

03021958 G-ALDC 4.25

04021958 G-ALDC 4.30

 

 

 

 

 

Cross Country Flying from Lyneham

Continuation + X Country Lyneham

Map Reading Lyneham

Local Flying Lyneham

Continuation Flying Lyneham

Ship Recce Lyneham

Lyneham-Hawarden-Aston Down-Lyneham

Local Flying Lyneham

Lyneham-Colerne-Lyneham

Cloud Flying/GCA’s Lyneham

Map Reading Lyneham

Jeep Dropping at Watchfield Lyneham

Cross Country to Devon & Coast Lyneham

Night Flying to Bristol Area Lyneham

Hydraulics U/S on take off Ret/To Lyneham

Took controls for 20 mins LH seat

Circuits & Landings Lyneham

Cross Country Flying Lyneham

Cross Country & Circuits Lyneham

Map Reading Lyneham

Cross Country & Circuits Lyneham

Local Flying & Circuits Lyneham

Continuation Training Lyneham

Local Flying Lyneham

Cross Country Flying Lyneham

X-Country & Cloud Flying Lyneham

Changi to Katunayake, Ceylon 48 Sqn

Katunayake to Changi 48 Sqn

Changi to Katunayake 48 Sqn

Katunayake to Gan, Maldives 48 Sqn

Gan to Katunayake 48 Sqn

Kat to Gan Ditched in Sea Gan 48 Sqn

Wattisham to Binbrook BCBS

Coningsby to Wattisham BCBS

 

Blackbushe to Brindisi, Italy Airwork

Brindisi to Ankara, Turkey Airwork

Ankara to Basra, Iraq Airwork

Basra to Karachi, Pakistan Airwork

Karachi to New Delhi, India Airwork

New Delhi to Calcutta, India Airwork

Calcutta to Bangkok, Thailand Airwork

Bangkok to Paya Lebar, Singapore Airwork

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Reflections of some of my R.A.F. National Service days

 

By Michael A.Richards

 

(2479346, LAC Richards, Air Wireless Mechanic, on completion of a two years engagement, in the R.A.F. in July 1952)

My stay at Lyneham was to last from mid September to mid November 1950 and I quickly became very familiar with the terms HF and VHF and neutrons, electrons, cathodes and anodes etc. I soon got to learn also how heavy were the TR 1154/1155 HF sets as well as the TR 1143 and TR 1430 VHF sets! Experiences of course all with Handley Page Hastings aircraft. 

Some of us used to revel in ‘circuit and bump’ test flights of Hastings aircraft at night. I must have had about half dozen trips of this nature. Groups of about half a dozen at a time for each flight were allowed to participate in the flights. We would all have to report to the stores to collect and sign for a parachute before each flight. Returning them back the stores immediately flying for the night had ceased.

I remember that never once were we ever given any formal training on how to fit and operate a parachute! If anything drastic had have happened however, we all quickly developed a very good idea of how to operate them by applying straightforward common sense despite always making best use of the parachutes as convenient seats during the flights! 

During the whole of my two years service as a National Serviceman in the R.A.F I only managed to get home three times on leave, to see my folks back in Northampton. Particularly of course my Dad. These being a 36hour Pass when at Wilmslow, a 48hour Pass from Lyneham and a seven days embarkation leave, also from Lyneham, during late October and early November 1950. The seven days leave being very significant as an indicator that soon things were about to change for me drastically. 

This all started to happen on November 12th when about forty plus or so of us, were instructed to thoroughly pack our kit bags and be ready for a night in transit at Clyffe Pypard, that strange little place on top of a hill, the following day, November 13th! 

Each one of us was a stranger to the next one with certainly in my case, not a familiar face to seen anywhere in the group! I am sure that went for each and everyone us too. This was understandable as we were all obviously from different trade backgrounds. Most were National Servicemen with only a few Regulars amongst us apparently. 

Then the real adventure began. We were to be ‘at the ready’, with our kit bags packed, at 5.00am the next day November 14th, and to be ready for onward transit by air! The morning was dark, cold and very misty when we all boarded an R.A.F. bus for the short trip to Lyneham Airfield. Not one of the forty or so airmen on the bus had any idea where or were told where we were all going! Through the misty murk we could just make out the majestic silhouettes of the Hastings aircraft as the slight traces of a dismal dawn was breaking. 

The bus stopped when it had reached Hastings registration number TG530. This was to be our transport we quickly learned, to wherever we were going! 

Each one of us was orderly checked in to a rear facing seat on board Hastings TG530, and then when all other loading operations had been completed, it was time to go. 

At precisely 7.45am on the morning of November 14th 1950, Hastings TG530 took off from Lyneham in the autumn mist, with fifty-two service personnel on board, including the flightcrew.

We were eagle-eyed young boys really setting out on a great adventure, completely oblivious of our final destinations, and totally reliant on the flightcrew whom we all hoped did know where they were going! The next few days would soon unfold and reveal their secrets to us all. 

After levelling out at 9500ft, we soon learned that we were on our way to Malta that was to be our first stop. We landed at Luqa Airfield Malta, early in the afternoon, after the flight of this first leg, which had taken six and quarter hours and the first thing that happened as soon as we were off the aircraft was for our Inoculation Certificates to be very thoroughly checked. 

This was to be the pattern set for every leg of the journey from thereon. Our Inoculation Certificates, next to our 1250’s, were like secondary Passports.

After getting fixed up with a meal, a bed and blankets, several of us took the opportunity of taking a look at Valetta, the capital city of Malta. A very dusty and dry place I remember at the time. 

A very early start was planned for the next day and we were soon to learn of the real business plan and procedures of the flight. After a night of very little sleep at all, we were soon up again and back in the Hastings for a 04.45hrs take off in the dark, for the next leg of the journey to Fayid in Egypt. We climbed to 7500ft and after about half an hour into the flight, realised that some of our numbers had not re-boarded the Hastings to go to Fayid. It then dawned on us that this would be the plan for each stop along the route of the flight. Those that did not re-board the Hastings, had discovered their final destinations and of course their postings! 

Hastings TG530 droned onwards into the dawn and into a new day, which provided us with some spectacular horizon colours. Flying into the dawn had been described to me as a particularly beautiful natural phenomenon to witness and that description proved to be very true on that morning. It took the best part of four hours flying until we touched down at Fayid, in the desert and the blazing heat, in the middle of the morning! We were scheduled to take off again at 14.00hrs in the afternoon, but that was not to be. At Fayid engine problems had been reported to the ground crews that caused a four hours delay in the intensive heat of the desert, while the engines were checked over. 

When we finally got round to re-boarding the Hastings again for the next leg to Habbanya in Iraq, we again noticed that our numbers had been further reduced.

I personally felt sorry for the chaps who did not get back into the Hastings. Snug back in my seat on the aircraft, I was secretly rejoicing that I had not been posted to Fayid, which struck me as being an unfriendly and even hostile place in the intolerable heat, in the desert and in the middle of nowhere! 

The nights dropped in fast at Fayid in November and it was in the dark again when we took off at 18.15hrs for the calculated three and three quarter hours night flight to Habbanya. We eventually touched down at Habbanya at 21.55hrs and spent the night in tents. Habbanya was another place I soon discovered that I was very glad to get away from, with no ambition ever to go back, I declared to myself, if I could possibly avoid it! My most vivid and long lasting memory of the place was the appalling breakfast we were served the next day in the camp cookhouse.

We were served by a local native cook I presumed who spoke only poor broken English but to his credit, smiled a lot which displayed a very gappy set of decaying teeth every time he smiled!

My Dad used to refer to some Middle Eastern delicacies as ‘camel shit and tram tickets’ and that is the best description I can come up with for what ‘Mr Gappy Teeth’ had placed on our plates! Whatever it was it was black/grey burnt and looked, smelled and tasted disgusting! The strange thing was that we all ate whatever it was on our plates because there was no alternative, along with the equally disgusting brew provided that was supposed to be black coffee. 

You can tell I felt really sorry again for the chaps that had been posted to this place and considered myself very lucky to be amongst those of us left who were instructed to re-board the Hastings again for the next leg of the journey! 

It was now Thursday November 16th 1950 and we were all set again, in our seats with our seat belts on, ready for a 08.45hrs take off from Habbanya for Mauripur (Karachi) in Parkistan, the next leg. This leg was relatively uneventful and it took the best part of seven hours, cruising at a flying speed of around 215mph at steady altitude of 9500ft, when we eventually landed at Mauripur at 18.30hrs local time.  

We spent the night in tents and it was here that we were told to at last, to change into our tropical kit due to the stifling heat we were beginning to experience. We had no further bad experiences here in the cookhouse either, that I can remember. 

Our numbers reduced further here and when we re-boarded the Hastings on the next day for the next leg, there were less than twenty of us left from the original forty or so that had originally started out from Lyneham and I was still one of them! 

We took off from Mauripur at 07.50hrs on the Friday morning, for a long flight to Negombo in Ceylon, as it was then, and it was on this leg that we received a warning of what was about to happen during the next few days.

The flight was only 150 miles out from Mauripur and cruising at our seemly favoured height of 9500ft when the outboard engine on the port side, decided to stop suddenly! The engine was ‘feathered’ then the captain completed a 180degree turn to put us on track for a return to Mauripur. After about fifteen minutes had passed by flying on this track, the engine sprang back to life again as suddenly as it had stopped! The flight engineer had obviously managed to restart the engine, which caused the captain to have a re-think. He promptly made another 180degree turn to put us back on our original track for Negombo. Exciting stuff for all of us novice observers! 

With all four engines running seemingly sweetly again, we continued on course at around 220mph and 9500ft, for a tiring and sweaty long flight, on to Negombo.  

We touched down at Negombo at 14.25hrs in the afternoon and when the doors of the Hastings were opened after landing I thought I would die from the extreme heat and humidity that we were all suddenly confronted with! Our Inoculation Certificates were promptly checked as usual and then we were driven to our quarters which turned out to be a solidly built building, built of I know not what but not a tent, with beds for about twenty airmen. Each bed had it’s own mosquito net which we were informed should always be in place when the bed was being used!

Such was our exhausted condition that after attempting freshening up in the sparsely equipped ablutions area, all we wanted to do was to try and cool down and recover by just laying on our beds dozing and drinking water. Contemplating the next day’s flight, which we learned, was to be to Changi, Singapore, the Headquarters of the FEAF. There were now only about twelve of us left from the original forty or so, who were trying to cool down and we were beginning get to know each other! At least my eventual group of six did, and firm friendships were beginning to blossom between us in this strange setting we found ourselves plunged into. 

As a very hot, humid, lazy and uncomfortable afternoon turned to dusk and eventual darkness – and somebody put the lights on – all hell broke loose!

We had suddenly been invaded by dozens and dozens of huge flying ‘shit’ beetles, teaming in through the open windows of the billet and attracted by the sudden switching on of the lights!

Seeing these creatures; was really believing I can assure anybody! Of course most of us had forgotten about the mosquito nets and we had no option but to declare war on the ‘shit’ beetles! Strange creatures in that their navigation systems were non-existent as they frequently bumped against the lights, into us, and every other object that happened to appear in their paths! By good old fashioned swatting methods with anything we could lay our hands on, between us we must have demolished well over two hundred of these most objectionable intruders! The ‘battle’ lasted about an hour and a half after which things began to settle back to some sort of normality. We were then faced with clearing up the disgusting mess that the dead, very squashed and bloody beetle’s carcasses presented us with! It was as if many very large blackberries had been deliberately thrown around at random and then systematically squashed underfoot!

We had a very disturbed night of attempted sleep due to the heat humidity and the ‘shit’ beetle encounter – but under our mosquito nets this time! We had learned our hard lesson fast! At the crack of dawn we up again, and after a good breakfast, (we had no cookhouse problems at Negombo), we were all ready to re-board Hastings TG530 for the final leg of the journey to Changi.

 

Comfortably apprehensive in our seats with our seat belts firmly in place, the twelve of us for Changi waited at the end of the runway for our take off clearance.

TG530 slowly began to roll, gradually yet strangely and sluggishly trying to build up speed for take off. What seemed to be about half way into the take off run, the captain abruptly cut all four engines and aborted safely, the take off of the Hastings!

Whilst taxying back to the dispersal point we were informed that a fault had developed with the communications system. To my mind this could only be the TR1154/1155 HF equipment, and would have to be fixed before we could proceed any further. The time was a little over 06.15hrs on Saturday morning of November 18th 1950 when we arrived back at dispersal.

About an hour or so went by while the wireless fault was being fixed and we were all ready again for another attempt at take off soon after 07.50hrs.

At 08.05hrs Hastings TG530 began another take off attempt which was considerably more exciting than the first! This time we did accelerate quite quickly and normally, as it seemed, along the runway for take off. The acceleration of the aircraft continued and only at the very last possible moment I am sure, the captain decided to abort again! I honestly thought we were going to crash into the palm trees that surrounded the whole of Negombo airfield, but we didn’t!

We were quickly informed this time while taxying to back to the dispersal again, that the outboard engine on the port side was not developing sufficient power on take off, which would mean a possible 24hours delay!

This was the same engine that had given us our anxious moment 150 miles from Mauripur when we had turned back on the previous day and it made me wonder about the validity of the reason given for our first aborted take off? 

A 24hrs delay it turned out to be, which gave us an unexpected opportunity to get to know Negombo a little better and more importantly, to begin to get acclimatised to the extreme hot and humid climate that we had arrived at. It was in reality, an unexpected holiday and we were soon to discover a totally deserted and gloriously sandy Negombo beach, with palm trees in abundance! It was akin to some of the best Hollywood film sequences. The only thing missing being a total absence of any bathing beauties! With the standard of the cuisine and beverages in the cookhouse quite acceptable, we began to feel contented with our lot.

We all enjoyed our newly found recreational respite from the ‘shit’ beetles also, for much to our surprise, they did not re-appear on the next night. We made maximum use of our mosquito nets though! 

The next morning Sunday November 19th we were all up again at dawn for breakfast and another attempt at getting off the ground for our flight to Changi but alas this was still not be!  

We made yet another aborted take off attempt at 08.15hrs and were then promptly informed that this time it would be a delay of at least 48hrs to accommodate an engine change which we immediately interpreted as more ‘bonus’ time at Negombo beach, for the dozen of us! We were temporarily ‘made’ with all this unexpected leisure time on our hands and in such a beautiful place, all at the government’s expense! 

On Tuesday November 21st we were briefed that all engine repairs on Hastings TG530 were nearing completion and that we should prepare ourselves for another attempt at take off in the morning, for Changi, departure time planned for 06.00hrs. 

After a good night’s sleep under our mosquito nets again, we were really beginning ‘to get to know the ropes’, and still no more take over attempts by the ‘shit’ beetles, we were up yet again at the crack of dawn for breakfast anticipating another attempt at take off! This time things were about to turn out relatively, as they were planned. 

After breakfast the twelve of us remaining, of the original forty plus that started out from Lyneham, were transported out to the waiting Hastings TG530 in the station bus.

It was Wednesday November 22nd 1950, nine days from our departure from Lyneham on November 14th the previous Tuesday. 

We climbed aboard the Hastings once again and settled down in our seats, seat belts on and taxied to the end of the runway ready for take off. The time was 06.12hrs.

The captain released the brakes and TG530 began once more to steadily build up speed on full throttles with all four engines roaring away angrily. This time we did at long last, achieve a good take off but I swear that we only missed the palm trees again by inches! 

We climbed steadily, levelled off at 9000ft and set course at a cruising speed of around 220mph, for Changi Singapore at last. The flight plan we were informed told us that the flight would take seven hours and ten minutes of flying time to touch down at Changi. So we all settled down to enjoy the flight and although another long and weary flight it turned out be, we did have another taste of unexpected excitement before we landed again! After about three hours into the flight we ran into some very bad weather conditions, which in turn led to some very alarming turbulence! Our captain, I never did get to know his name, being the clever man that he was and we had all come regard him very highly, made the wise move of starting to climb to get above the severe tropical storm that we had quite suddenly run into! We were immediately instructed to put on our oxygen masks for the first time on any of the legs, which we were very happy to do as we finally levelled out at an altitude of 14,500ft. Looking down, it was very easy to see that we were flying over extremely black and angry looking mountainous ranges of huge nimbus cloud build up.

It took about a thirty minutes to clear the bad weather zone, which enabled us to descend back down to 9500ft. With the oxygen masks dispensed with, we resumed our steady cruise of 225mph, all the way to a position 95miles north west of Singapore, where we began our ‘let down’ into Changi, tracking over Seletar on the way down. We touched down at Changi at precisely 15.28hrs local time, the final destination of Hastings TG530 on that particular operation, originally started out from Lyneham. I made a note in a log I had been keeping of the whole journey, that the landing ‘was rather bouncy’! 

The whole operation had been planned to take five days to complete. It had taken nine! 

To cut the story short here, the last twelve of us that had gone ‘ all the way’, found ourselves posted to the Far East Air Force, but this was not the end of the line for six of us, we were soon to discover. National Servicemen Alder, Dixon, Holder and Richards - and Regulars Buist (a mad Scotsman when drunk (!), we were later to discover), and Bill? something or other, found ourselves still in transit and waiting for a posting would you believe! This of course suited all of us for, with the experiences of Negombo beach still fresh in our minds, we were handed the gift of another unexpected holiday, this time for a full two weeks of it, and again at the government’s expense, exploring the beaches around Singapore! 

All this came to end when news of our postings finally came through.

We discovered at long last, and much to our delight and spirit of adventure, that all of us had been posted to R.A.F Station Kai Tak at Hong Kong, and soon to be boarding an R.A.F.Dakota aircraft that was to get us there, just before Christmas 1950.

That’s another story though that will have to wait to be told on another day – possibly? 

 

 

HP Hastings Timeline

1946

TE580 Prototype Hastings first flew on May 23rd from RAF Wittering after being transported from the Handley Page Radlett, Hertfordshire factory by road under police escort.

TE583 was the second prototype which first flew on 30th December, this Hastings was fitted with two outer Sapphire jet turbine engines for the new HP Victor engine test bed and must have been a sight to see!

 

1947

TE583 2nd Prototype first flew.

TG499 this was the first production Hastings aircraft and made its maiden flight on 25th April.

 

1948

On 11th March TG503 left the UK for a proving flight to Australia and New Zealand, this tour lasted 17 weeks and as a result the New Zealand Government placed an order for four C3 Hastings powered with Bristol 737 Hercules engines (More powerful than the 101 or 106 series).

The Berlin Airlift (26th June 1948-12th May 1949) can only be regarded as ‘one hell of a baptism’ for a new RAF Transport/Freighter aircraft, no sooner was the Hastings introduced into service when the Soviets had blockaded Berlin and the only way through from the West was via Air Corridors. The HP Hastings aircrews only had a few flying hours each to their credit, the ground crews likewise regarding maintenance, yet over 1300 tons of food were flown daily into Berlin by the RAF, to put this into perspective that is 65 X 20 foot shipping containers fitted onto flatbed lorries you may see on the road everyday in Britain. The flights (24 Hastings were used at the height of the crisis, 7 of them in 1948) were incessant, I know this from my own experience as I was 11 years of age at the time when my father was stationed at RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, this airfield was flying Avro York aircraft 24/7.

The Hastings task was to take coal and other fuel into Berlin some direct from Yorkshire airfields and some from forward positions in Western Germany, I cannot imagine the dust and mess that was created to a brand new aircraft such as this. The Berliners still remember this arduous task today and to show everyone’s appreciation of the work that the Hastings and its crews contributed to that effort TG503 now sits in a Berlin museum in honour of that achievement.

Hastings Squadrons involved in the Berlin Air Lift were 53, 99, 297 and 511

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TG519 undershot the runway on approach to RAF Dishforth, Yorkshire on 2nd October where the undercarriage was torn off, this was the first accident to occur to a production Hastings whilst approaching the runway on a practice 3 engine landing. On 47 Squadrons inventory.

 

 

 

1949

By the end of January 14 Hastings aircraft were employed in the Berlin Airlift followed by a further 10 in July.

TG522 crashed on the 4th April at Tegel airport during the Berlin airlift.

TG534 caught fire on engine start up on the ground at Schleswigland, the fire spread and the aircraft was burnt out on 6th April during the Berlin Airlift on forward detachment from RAF Dishforth.

TG510 made a ‘wheels up’ landing on the 19th May during the Berlin Airlift but was subsequently repaired to fly again.

TG611 this was the RAF’s last crash during the Berlin Airlift and occurred on take off from Tegel Airport (French Sector) on 16th July, it is thought there may have been incorrect tail trim on take off (or, I have heard an engine failure) resulting in the deaths of five RAF personnel.

No. 53 Squadron joined the Berlin Airlift from August 1949 and 297 Squadron from September 1949.

During this winter in the Berlin Airlift, Hastings were tasked with flying in salt in canisters underslung the belly, this was when the Short Sunderland flying boats couldn’t land on the nearby frozen lakes.

TG499 had an underslung belly Paratechnicon, this became detached from the aircraft on 26th September hitting the tailplane resulting in the aircraft crashing at Beacon Hill, Wiltshire. There were no survivors.

 

1950

TG583 Crashed on landing approach at RAF Dishforth, Yorkshire on 31st July belonged to 241 OCU and caught fire and destroyed.

TG574 Crashed at Benina, Libya on the 20th December (See Bangs & Prangs) 53 Squadron, the propeller flew off 5 killed/27 passengers and AQM survived.

 

1951

All the Mk. C.2 Hastings were complete and off the production line from January through to October.

WD478 crashed at Strubby/Manby on take off on 19th March, the Hastings was seen to lift off, stall and dived into the ground, sadly 3 died whilst 5 others survived, this aircraft had only been off the production line 6 days earlier. No accident record exists.

TG552 crashed and caught fire at RAF Negombo, Ceylon on 12th April there are photos of this accident ( the story from the onboard Navigator and also an eye witness is shown on Bangs and Prangs. Again there is no accident report on file on this crash and knowing the story I can understand why!

TG536 made an emergency landing at RAF Luqa, Malta on 3rd December, the aircraft undercarriage and underside was repaired.

The Abadan crisis of 1951 saw HP Hastings being deployed to forward units in the Middle East to protect ‘British oil interests’, for it was at this time that Persian interests were to nationalise the oilfields of Abadan in May. I overflew these oil fields when en route from Basra to Karachi in 1958, as far as the eye could see there were literally thousands of these cylindrical oil/petroleum tanks, such was the independence to Britain and the West and of course to the financial institutions. My father (then), Flight Sergeant Joe Cooper, went with this forward support unit and operated out of RAF Fayid Canal Zone, Egypt for several months. There is a photograph of 21 of these aircraft somewhere about at RAF Fayid.

 

1952

TG562 crashed on take-off at RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire on the 14th March, this was on the inventory of 242 OCU, again no accident record exists.

Hastings aircraft were used in taking supplies to Kimpo, Seoul, South Korea during the Korean War

TG603 crashed at RAF Luqa 16.06.1952 Elevator??? 99 Squadron No survivors, elevator bolts sheared??

16/06/1952 TG603 NO ACCIDENT RECORD CARD EXISTS. I have since received information that this aircraft was 'Blown Off the Runway' at RAF Luqa, Malta and that there were no survivors (other reportssay ‘no injuries’, I understand that Elevator Bolts could have sheared off.

 

WD492 crashed on Greenland Ice Cap at North Ice Camp on the 16th September whilst on a supply drop, aircraft is still in situ but now buried under a sheet of ice and snow. Aircraft belonged to 47 Squadron read about it here

http://www.air-despatch.co.uk/open/frozen/frozen.htm

1953

TG602 Crashed near Shallufa, Egypt on the 12th January the elevator flew off, dived into ground, 9 killed ex RAF Abingdon aircraft.

WJ335 stalled and crashed on take-off at Abingdon on the 22nd June. 6 died.

TG613 ditched in the Mediterranean Sea on 22.07.1953

TG564 on fire at http://image10.webshots.com/11/2/0/88/178720088OrAGUI_ph.jpg This aircraft crashed on landing and caught fire at RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong on the 27th July, 564 was on the strength of 53 Squadron at the time of the crash when it hit a hut, sadly one person on the ground was killed in this incident.

NZ5804 Took part in 1953 London-Christchurch Air Race in October 1953 flown by Wing Commander R F Watson. The RNZAF Hastings withdrew after engine failure and emergency landing at RAF Negombo, Ceylon, a new engine was flown out to Negombo from New Zealand, and 5804 returned to NZ on 20th October.

Hastings were still involved in the supply and Casevac of servicemen to and from South Korea several of whom were UN soldiers from Turkey and Britain.

Hastings aircraft were involved in supply drops to the East Coast and the South East of England during exceptionally high tides which resulted in many deaths.

HP Hastings flew soldiers and equipment into Kenya during the Mau Mau crisis, as a 14 year old living and schooling at Lyneham my father (then i/c Aircraft Servicing Flight) flew to Kenya in a Hastings whilst the unrest continued ensuring the servicing was as it should be at its home base.

TG559 crashed at RAF Abingdon on 9th October, visibility and poor weather to blame. 24 Squadron aircraft.

Read the abduction of King Freddie of Buganda in a Hastings to the UK http://members.lycos.co.uk/jadastra/king.html

1954

Communist incursion in Malaya during operation Firedog this operation lasted until 1960 and the Hastings main base, especially from 1957 involved HP Hastings of 48 Squadron, RAF Changi. Other secondments from the UK supplemented this operation.

1955

13/09/1955 TG584 Overshot runway at Dishforth, crashed 5 died.

WD484 crashed on take-off at Boscombe Down on the 29th March. Elevator locks in, 2 died

WJ341 crashed at Abingdon and groundlooped on 26th July

NZ5804 Crashed on landing at RAAF Darwin on 09 September when multiple bird strikes caused power to be lost in 3 engines. All 25 on board survived the accident but aircraft was written off. (Source RNZAF website)

 

1956

Archbishop Makarios was deported by a Hastings of 70 Squadron from Cyprus to Mombasa in Kenya

WD483 crashed on landing at Ataq on the 9th April, Peter King has asked me to post this:

Seeing 09/04/1956 made me remember that I had loaded that aircraft at Khormaksar during the night before it crashed at Ataq.
 
As I recall, WD483 was from 70 Sqn (at that time probably at Nicosia) and was originally on a scheduled passage Nicosia - Khormaksar - Eastleigh (Kenya). It had arrived at Khormaksar in afternoon of 8 April and would probably gone on next day to Eastleigh, quick turnround and back to Khormaksar that day and next day return to Cyprus.
 
I remember that in the weeks prior to this there had been 'trouble' up-country and that an army unit had arrived in Aden, presumably to sort it out (remember Aden didn't, at the time have a permanent army presence. I know we had numerous army Sergeants sleeping on the verandah outside my room (I had recently been promoted Sgt and ran one of the two shifts at Air Movements).
 
When we took over on evening of 8 April we were told that we had to unload the 70 Sqn Hastings of its load (intended to go to Eastleigh next day) and load a Ferret Scout Car which was to go to Ataq where we assumed the army would use it (ours not to reason why ......!!)
 
First problem was that to load vehicles into  a Hastings you needed a ramp and at Khormaksar we only had a single 'heavy-duty' version. OK for us but what about at Ataq? Now there were light duty ramps, air-portable so we understood though we had never seen one so we were told that workshops airmen would then dismantle our ramp, load it into aircraft behind the ferret, take it off at Ataq and re-assemble it to use there!
 
I know that by about midnight after much sweating and exhaust fumes the ferret had found its way up the (was it 11 degree?) slope and we had it safety chained down. Now the workshops staff set to work on our one and only ramp and reduced it to a number of bulky, heavy, pieces. Eventually we got this on board and TASF refitted seats behind it for the ferret driver and crew and for several workshop staff who had to put it together at Ataq. I was told that I did not need to worry about the Weight and Balance Sheet (old-fashioned version of trim sheet) since the AQM would do his own, also no Movements staff were need to accompany aircraft as AQM would release chains etc.
 
It was now about three am and I remember we got our heads down for a couple of hours before we had to see other aircraft off. Remember I was single and just 21 so when as we finished our shift at 0700 I heard that a Valetta of the APCSS was going to Ataq with a party of soldiers I had a word with the air signaller who fixed it for me to fly as a spare crew member. I was interested to see how the Hastings would be unloaded and, as it was due to leave about 30 minutes after us, there seemed a good chance I could do so.
 
Off we flew to Ataq but the Valetta captain was in a hurry to drop his load and get back to Aden. I asked if I could stay and return later on the Hastings (due in about ten minutes) but was told no, since I didn't have a rifle!
 
So we took off and were back at Khormaksar by about 1000. Now I was off shift so went straightway to the Mess and bed. It wasn't till dinner that evening that someone asked if I had heard of the crash at Ataq.
 
Peter King
 

 

Suez Crisis, many Hastings aircraft were moved forward from the UK Bases to Cyprus to deploy paratroops and equipment to the Suez Canal area under Operation Musketeer this was a huge deployment of aircraft, personnel and equipment. Transport aircraft used RAF Tymbou where 14 Hastings from 70, 99, & 511 Squadrons were used. These aircraft had the traditional black and white invasion marking painted on the wings and around the fuselage area.

1957

All of the Hastings aircraft moved from RAF Lyneham to nearby RAF Colerne with 24 and 511 Squadrons.

TG615 photo of crash site at http://image18.webshots.com/18/9/14/84/202691484jQXNFx_ph.jpg

Crashed at Bannerdown Hill near Colerne on the 21st October

Two Hastings, WD476 & WJ333 of 24 Squadron left RAF Dishforth, Yorkshire to fly the Westabout (via the USA) route to Christmas Island in support of Operation Grapple

 

1958

On September 1st 511 Squadron at RAF Colerne became 36 Squadron

 

1959

TG522 crashed at Khartoum on 29th May where # 1 & 2 engines cut on take-off, 5 crew members from 36 Squadron died as a result of this crash, but the Air Quarter Master and 25 passengers survived. I have an eye witness version of events which differs from the accident report.

114 Squadron was moved to RAF Colerne and reformed on May 5th.

Hastings Mk T5 were introduced to RAF Lindholme as part of Bomber Command Bombing School (BCBS)

Handley Page Hastings TG580 C.1A of 48 Squadron RAF Changi crashed whilst landing at RAF Gan, Maldives on 3rd July 1959 all on board survived, the aircraft was Damaged Beyond Repair.

A total of 10 Hastings aircraft were bought for scrap by R J Coley limited after the RAF had taken delivery of Bristol Britannias.

 

1960

 

Handley Page Hastings TG579 C.1 of 48 Squadron RAF Changi landed in the sea 1.5nm east of RAF Gan on March 1st. All on board survived, the aircraft stayed afloat for twenty minutes before sinking into deep water.

On March 23rd TG517 (now at Newark Air Museum) was the first of 10 Hastings ex RAF Aldergrove these were weather aircraft to be converted to T5 status and delivered to BCBS RAF Lindholme. Airwork Services of Hurn undertook the conversion at its airfield at Blackbushe.

In July of this year 24 and 36 Squadrons were sent from RAF Colerne to assist the UN Force in the Belgian Congo by ferrying personnel and equipment via forward bases in Accra, Ghana, moving Nigerian and Ghanaian peacekeepers.

 

1961

WJ342 Crashed/engine failure on take off RAF Eastleigh 23rd January.

Photo at http://image05.webshots.com/5/3/35/86/66333586lJvzha_ph.jpg

WD497 crashed at RAF Seletar, Singapore on 29th May No. 2 engine cut on supply drop at Seletar, 13 died. Aircraft from nearby 48 Squadron RAF Changi

WD498 check out http://www.flightlinemalta.com/rafhastingscrash.htm Stalled on take-off AQM and 16 others killed, 18 survived, crashed at El Adem, Libya on 10th October

TG624 the Meteorological Hastings crashed and was written off (Cat.5) at RAF Aldergrove on take-off on the 27th December.

Again this year HP Hastings were called forward to Kenya, this time on a mercy mission where soil degradation followed by floods, followed by drought left many Kenyans in a famine situation.


On June 30th Kuwait Operation Lifeline crisis occurred during this year and as many as six 48 Squadron Hastings from RAF Changi were deployed to RAF Khormaksar and other forward desert airstrip areas in The Gulf in support of averting the threat of invasion from Iraq. 12 crews were deployed in this time with much equipment and troops being hastily moved from Kenya.

48 Squadron at RAF Changi was also involved in the movement of personnel and supplies to Kuching, Labuan and Brunei as Indonesia was opposed to the make up of the expansion of Malaysia.

This was indeed a busy year for Transport Command and its Hastings and crews from 24 and 36 Squadrons moved at Christmas to Lagos, Nigeria continuing the transportation of African troops to the Belgian Congo in support of UN peacekeeping duties.

Hastings were also moved to supply drop medicines and other supplies to counter the stomach bug that was killing children on the Fanning Islands in the Pacific whilst other Hastings were transporting troops and supplies to the Caribbean Islands.

 

 

1962

 

TG508 crashed on landing and caught fire at Thorney Island on 7th March and was written off.

There occurred a revolt in Brunei which spread to Borneo and continued through to 1966 this sucked Indonesia into the conflict. HP Hastings from No 48 Squadron RAF Changi were used in troop & freight carrying.

NZ5803 was the first RNZAF aircraft to fly around the world after delivering a replacement engine to a stranded 40 Squadron DC6. Aircraft arrived back at Whenuapai on the 14th September after flying 25,000 miles in 120 flying hours in the previous 3 weeks and circling the globe east-west.

TG566 Ex Met.1 202 Squadron crashed on take-off at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland on 19th September.

 

 

1963

17th January Air Chief Sir Walter Marton presented the Queens Colours to 48 Squadron at RAF Changi.

 

TG610 struck The Radio Servicing Flight building on landing, taking the life of a Chief Technician at RAF Thorney Island 17th December

1964

202 Squadron Meteoroligical Hastings was disbanded on 31st July.

 

1965

On 6th July TG577 of 36 Squadron crashed shortly after take off from RAF Abingdon near the village of Little Balden, Oxfordshire with the loss of all on board, 41 crew and parachutists. Elevator bolt failure was to blame for what was at that time the RAF’s worst peacetime accident.

A total of four Hastings were detached to Nassau, Bermuda to support Belize from incursions from nearby Guatemala.

1966

On 4th May TG575 crashed on landing at RAF El Adem, Libya, this aircraft from 70 Squadron RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. Photo at http://image14.webshots.com/15/9/73/94/163897394pXdKMp_ph.jpg

Alternative reading at http://www.air-despatch.co.uk/open/hastings575/575.htm

 

 

1967

WD491 crashed at West Raynham nose down where one version states that wrong weight distribution was to blame but a more likely version of events was that one of the wheel brakes seized causing 491 to slew off the runway on 9th September http://splashdown2.tripod.com/id11.html

 

 

1968

All Hastings were withdrawn from general passenger/trooping/freight service by January 5th 1968, this was not the end of the Hastings in service though as I flew to RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire in SCBS TG536 on 13th November and returned to RAF Wattisham, Suffolk from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire on TG505 the following day. It has been recorded that after 05/05/1968 there were still officially 44 aircraft in service with specialist units.

1969

1970

1971

1972

1066 Squadron moved from RAF Lindholme to RAF Scampton continuing the training of Navigators for use in Strike Command. They were also used frequently to move personnel and stores around Strike Command bases, I in fact had to undertake two journeys in 1968 TG536/TG505 on TACEVAL exercises.

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

TG517 was flown to the Newark Air Museum at Winthorpe on 22nd June by Squadron Leader Jackson.

TG511 was flown to the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford on 16th August by the Squadron Commander of ‘1066 Squadron’ Squadron Leader ‘Jacko’ Jackson AFC MBE. This Hastings is only one of four complete airframes in existence of this breed.

TG505 was flown to RAF St Athan in 1977 for its last flight

1997

TG503 ‘airborne’ underslung a MIL MI-26 in September to be taken to the Berlin Aviation Museum at Alliierton.

There are likely to be a few mistakes on the dates here, they are as accurate as I can gather at this point in time, if you know of an obvious error please let me know.  

 Squadrons associated with HP Hastings

24 Squadron

Motto In omnia parati = 'Prepared for all things'

Battle honours standard presented by AM Sir Charles E N Guest on 4th March 1954.

Badge is of a black cock in a fighting mode. TG528 at IWM Duxford is an example.

I can’t be sure of the 24 in a diamond but I recollect black being the background colour on the fin.

The month of November 1950 saw 24 Squadron move to Lyneham in Wiltshire but with station moves to Topcliffe (1951) and Abingdon (1953) with HP Hastings until 1967 when it was replaced with Hercules in 1968 .

A Hastings Mk C4 VIP flight was also stationed at Colerne from 1958

For a list of personnel serving on 24 Squadron click below

http://www.24sqnassociation.royalairforce.net/members.htm

One of these was John Cheshire a pilot on 24 Squadron flying Hastings in the mid 1960’s, now Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire KBE CB

Through 1958-60 I worked on these following Hastings at RAF Katunayake

WD476/WD484/WD486/WD489/WD494/WD495/WD499/WJ332/WJ339/WJ342*/TG553/TG556/TG576/

TG582/TG606/TG607.These serials were not necessarily on 24 Squadrons strength all at the same time. Often these aircraft would be carrying freight or passengers.

 

 

36 Squadron

Latin meaning Rajawali raja langit (Malay) - 'Eagle King of the sky'
Badge: An eagle, wings elevated, perched on a torpedo and in my day having 36 within a green diamond on the top of the fin.

36 Squadron took on the role of a Hastings squadron on 1st September 1958 at RAF Colerne in Wiltshire and continued in the Hastings role until replaced by Hercules aircraft in 1967.

WJ342 was lost at RAF Eastleigh, Kenya on 23rd January 1961, one engine failed on take off, the aircraft swung off the runway and embedded itself in the soil, the aircraft was deemed beyond economic repair and was scrapped.

From Ken Robinson 8th October 2005

Returning from route flight to Aden we were to divert to Lyneham! Lyneham socked (Fogged) in, divert back to base, Colerne, Colerne socked in again, divert to St Mawgan. Not enough fuel? Sent out Mayday! Chivenor FTC closed on Sundays opened up, scrambled rescue chopper and led us in. On ground, engineer dipped fuel tanks? less than 10 minutes fuel in tanks! Went to local pub and got wasted.

Ken Robinson

Through 1958-60 I worked on these following Hastings of 36 Squadron at RAF Katunayake

WD477/WD485/WD488/WD491/WD495/WJ328/WJ329/WJ331/WJ333/WJ334/WJ337/WJ342*/WJ343/

TG577/TG620. These serials were not necessarily on 24 Squadrons strength all at the same time. Please note that WJ342* appears on both 24/36 Sqn listings. A lot of freight was carried by 36 Squadron and this was the specialist airlifting squadron of ‘sensitive’ cargo to and from Woomera/Maralinga (via RAAF/RAF Edinburgh Field) and also Christmas Island, often Westabout via San Francisco and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

 

40 Squadron RNZAF

Photo at http://image05.webshots.com/5/2/7/80/66420780UuQvoM_ph.jpg

Four Mk C3 Were originally dispatched to 41 Squadron RNZAF then transferred to 40 Squadron RNZAF??

I have one such photo that I took as a kid of a RNZAF Hastings at Lyneham from inside another RAF Hastings, this would probably be c1953 taken with a Brownie Box Camera. I handled two of these Hastings at RAF Katunayake from 1958-60 NZ5801/NZ5802

 

 

41 Squadron RNZAF

Four Mk C3 Were originally dispatched to 41 Squadron RNZAF then transferred to 40 ?? Squadron RNZAF

I have one such photo that I took as a kid of a RNZAF Hastings at Lyneham from inside another RAF Hastings, this would probably be c1953 taken with a Brownie Box Camera.

 

47 Squadron


Motto: Nili nomen roboris omen = 'The name of the Nile is an omen of our strength'


Badge consists of a fountain with crane's head .

The battle honours standard was presented by MRAF Sir John Slessor on 25th March 1955.

The first HP Hastings Squadron formed in 1948. During the Berlin airlift, No 47 flew over 3,000 sorties in the seven months it was assigned to the operation, mainly transporting coal to the beleaguered city from Schleswigland Airfield.

48 Squadron

Photo of last flypast of 48 Squadron Hastings http://image05.webshots.com/5/3/37/29/65233729FaTwIy_ph.jpg

Latin motto: Forte et fidele=By Strength and faithfulness

Photo of badge at http://image01.webshots.com/1/8/20/87/39982087vaGYfe_ph.jpg


A Petrel's head in a triangle with (in my day) a white 48 inside a red diamond on the top of the fin.

Hastings were introduced to the squadron in 1957 at RAF Changi, Singapore and was eventually disbanded on the 3rd March 1967 having the Hercules taking its role some of these Hastings ended up there time at FEC’s before being flown to RAF Seletar to be dismantled by 390MU and then sold as scrap. One of these ended up at RAF Gan as a firedump Hastings on a last minute reprieve.

Two Hastings were detached to RAF Christmas Island, one was TG531 and the other was WD488 and were used as the shuttle between Christmas Island and Hawaii for the shuttle of food and other supplies.

Through 1958-1960 I worked on many a 48 Squadron Hastings aircraft turnarounds from RAF Changi. These serials are some that I worked WJ336/WD490/WD498/TG520/TG525/TG531/TG536/TG570/TG579/TG580

 

53 Squadron

Motto: United in effort
Badge: In front of a saltire, a thistle slipped and leaved.

 

The Squadron was reformed with Hastings on August 1st 1949 RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire. Later 53 Squadron was reformed at RAF Abingdon until taking on the new Blackburn Beverley in 1957 .

 

 

 

 

70 Squadron

Motto: Usquam = 'Everywhere'.
Badge: A demi-wing lion

The battle honours standard was presented by AVM Sir Hazelton Nicholl on 16th July 1955

In 1955 70 squadron moved to Cyprus with Hastings aircraft which took part in the ill fated Suez Crisis of 1956 and were operating until December 1967, some of these were returned to the UK whilst I have been informed 2 ended up in a scrap yard in Malta whilst one remained at TASF RAF Akrotiri through until 1968 and that aircraft was WD500 a VIP variant C4.

WD483 one of the Squadrons steeds was involved in a landing accident at Ataq, Aden on 9th April 1956 where the undercarriage gave way, this aircraft was deemed beyond economic repair and was written off (Cat 5) and another (WD498) was lost at RAF El Adem on the 10th October which apparently stalled on take off (I have had reports that the pilots seat slid back on take off) with the loss of life of Maltese soldiers????????

These are the only 70 Squadron Hastings I handled at RAF Katunayake from 1958-60 TG530/TG621/TG563 I handled many more of these at RAF El Adem SASF between 1963-65 but I do not have these serials.

99 Squadron

Once sported 99 in a blue diamond on the fin

Motto: Quisque Tenax = 'Each tenacious'.
Badge: A puma salient.

The Squadron was re-equipped with Hastings in August 1949. During the Suez operations, the Squadron dropped parachute troops on Port Said from bases in Cyprus and in the summer of 1959 it received Britannias.

My records show that I handled TG522 (The only serial shown for this period) at RAF Katunayake prior to it crashing at Khartoum in 1959

 

114 Squadron

Motto: "With speed I strike."
Badge: A cobra's head.

On 13 April 1959 the Squadron was moved to RAF Colene and reformed May 5th as a transport unit with Hastings until it was disbanded on 30 September 1961 when the ‘whistling tit’ (Armstrong Whitworth Argosy) came into service this aircraft was generally regarded as a poor freighter over distance than the one that it was replacing!

 

The following Hastings were handled between 1958-60 at RAF Katunayake WJ330/WJ332/WJ337/WD486/WD493/WD495

 

115 Squadron

Inspectorate of Radio Installations and Services (IRIS)

TG530 ‘ICENI’ IRIS II & WJ338 IRIS III were used to calibrate approach systems and navigation aids, to see these operating resulted in at least two days of continuous flying checking every approach imaginable and operated in and around airfields where ever the RAF had a base.

RAF Watton to RAF Wyton 1963, this squadron did rectification work and schedule servicing on the 51 Squadron Hastings as required.

 

 

116 Squadron

Apparently operated HP Hastings from September 1953 to April 1956

Does anyone have any details of this Squadron at this time?

202 Squadron

The battle honours standard was presented by ACM Sir Douglas Evill on 6th September 1957.

This squadron was known as The Met Squadron, it took on its role from Halifax aircraft in 1950 through to 1964 when it was disbanded. The Squadrons role was to fly out into the Atlantic to gather Meteoroligical reports and 19 Hastings were equipped for this role but not all at the same time. They were exceptionally reliable due to planned and major servicing, not one life was lost in 14 years of operations despite a couple of accidents. 202 Squadron ceased operating Hastings aircraft and was disbanded on 31st July 1964 about a year after my last trip to Aldergrove.

An interesting article appears on the 202 Squadron website at:-

http://www.202-sqn-assoc.co.uk/hugh.htm

Some aircraft serving with 202 Squadron TG572, TG616 (the first converted Met.C.1), TG620, TG621, & TG624

297 Squadron

 

First operated Hastings in 1948 at RAF Dishforth being the second squadron to equip with Hastings aircraft Yorkshire and was thrown immediately into the Berlin Airlift emergency and were moved forward to Schleswigland, West Germany, much coal was transported to Berlin until October 1949 and in December 1949 the Squadron was returned to the UK at RAF Topcliffe.

 

511 Squadron

Pilots on 511 Squadron 1953

Flight Lieutenant Bennett

Flight Lieutenant McAdam

Flight Lieutenant Sproule

Flight Lieutenant John Payne

Flight Lieutenant Stuart Perrin

Flight Lieutenant Adams

Flight Lieutenant Ibbotson

Flight Lieutenant Badley

Flight Lieutenant Melville (sp?)

Flight Lieutenant Munro

Flying Officer Morris

Flying Officer Wiles

Flight Sergeant Frank Ogden Flight Engineer

I was a second pilot in 511 Squadron, RAF Lyneham from July 1952 to January 1953, when my National Service was completed. Apart from the usual continuation training, I did three paratrooping detachments at RAF Abingdon but only two overseas trips. The first, in September was to Aden with WJ337 skippered by F/L Burgess; the route was via Idris (Tripoli) and a overnight flight across the Sahara to Wadi Seidna (as Khartoum was temporarily closed to four engined aircraft. We returned by the sme route.
The next trip was Operation Sterling. Four aircraft WJ332; TG601; and TG556 together with either TG571 or WJ328 took part. We flew first to Idris and then to Fayid, where we arrived from the north in formation before peeling off (it must have looked quite impressive from the ground) to land. At Fayid we picked up troops, I think they were the East Lancs Fusiliers, to ferry them down to Kenya for operations against the Mau Mau insurgents. We stopped for refuelling and a meal at Wadi Seidna, before going on down the Great Rift Valley in the dark to arrive at Nairobi. One of the aircraft diverted to Entebbe with some sort of trouble, so we had to go over the next day to pick up their passengers. We then returned to Fayid, loaded up with the East Lancs equipment and went down to Nairobi for the second time. On one leg we invited an Army captain to the flight deck; I got out of my seat to let him see what it was like "up front". It became apparent that he was desperately searching for an intelligent question to ask, then it came; he pointed to the undercarriage lever and asked "Is that the lever that trnsfers the drive from the wheels to the propellers on take off?"
If anyone is interested I have a copy of the nominal roll of air and groundcrew who took part in the operation.

 

I remember once doing night continuation training of circuits and bumps, during the long taxi-ing round the perimeter we had a BBC comedy radio programme on and drifted off into the muddy grass where we were well and truly stuck!

John Payne

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I jumped out of Hastings many times when every exit was, to me, problematic.  The aircraft was brilliant for head-bangers (sub-standard exits led to helmeted heads banging down the outside of the fuselage) and 'stroppy' blokes (static line burns round the neck were frequent), but not recommended for any normal person

 

The Hastings encouraged me to move quickly to freefall where the added complications of the static line do not come into the equation.

 

Barry Fleming

Parachute Regiment

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Flying out of Kuching I once helped chuck supplies out to one of our forward posts just our side of the border in a Hastings, I’m sorry to say that 3 out of the 5 loads landed in the river. We could see the Indo AA guns on the other side, I'm glad to say they never opened up on us, but we did stay on our side of the river

 

Paul Alders

RAF

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These Hastings were on the inventory of 511 Squadron at RAF Lyneham sometime in 1953

TG512 TG513 TG522 TG528 TG531 TG557 TG561 TG568 TG579 TG604

WD488 WD497 WJ328 WJ331 WJ336 WJ338 WJ340 WJ343

Photo at http://image05.webshots.com/5/1/49/12/66014912YVhrOh_ph.jpg

 

Motto ‘Surely and Quickly’

The badge, a compass card and an eagle holding a chain containing five links

Converted to Hastings in 1949 at Lyneham with RAF Transport Command until disbanded on 1st September 1958. I recall the saying at Lyneham in the early 1950’s Transport Command, The best Airline in the World. 1951 to the end of the Korean War, 511 Squadron ferried many personnel and much equipment to the war zone and in return extricating the wounded as CASEVAC back to other bases. In 1954 another ‘emergency’ arose this time a humanitarian airlift conveying personnel and passengers from Gibraltar after the Troopship Empire Windrush caught fire in the Mediterranean in the early hours of the morning, the fire got out of control and of the 1700 on board all but four survived.

 

‘1066’ (Unofficial Hastings) Squadron BCBS/SCBS

Bomber Command and Strike Command Bombing School

Eight Hastings C.1 were converted to become Hastings T5s, these provided radar training for bomb-aimers at the Bomber Command Bombing School from 1959 at RAF Lindholme & ?????. Four of these served with the Radar Flight of No.230 Operational Conversion Unit (unofficially known as '1066 Squadron') until 30 June 1977 where the last Hastings flights were undertaken

 

OCU’s

 

 

241 OCU Operational Conversion Unit

242 OCU Operational Conversion Unit

242 Operational Conversion Unit was formed at RAF Dishforth, Yorkshire in 1951 later moving to RAF Thorney Island, Hampshire

David Taylor informs me that 242 OCU were operating out of Dishforth from 1953-57 he recalls these Hastings all being on the strength of 242OCU TG508/515/528/558/576/609

At RAF Katunayake I handled TG508 during period 1958-60

Others

A&AEE Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment

AFEE Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment

CSE Central Signals Establishment

CSDSFEC’s Far East Communications Squadron

Air Chief Marshal The Earl of Bandon who was affectionately known as The Abandoned Earl or simply ‘Paddy’ was the C-in-C Far East Air Force in my time, I had the privilege to meet him on several occasions and was well liked by all. C4 VIP Hastings aircraft operated through FEC’s three of which I worked on WJ326/WD500/TG507 but often they would interchange between FEC’s and MEC’s. These aircraft were known by the groundcrew as ‘Shineys’ due to the polished aluminium skin below the decal line. The interior was luxurious by any standard and could accommodate 4 VIP’s and their entourage plus a couple of ground servicing crew. Generally these VIP quarters were out of bounds to us erks, but there was always a means of overcoming the rules and the food was much better on board than was served up in our mess! Access to the cockpit would be via the nose ladder and refuelling/reoiling via platforms or ladders. Whenever the C-in-C was aboard there would always be the Station Commander to see them in or out. On occasion the AOC Ceylon, an Air Commodore based at the British Embassy in Colombo would also be on the ’gravy train’!

MEC’s Middle East Communications Squadron

MET Meteorological Research Flight

MinTech??

MoS Ministry of Supply

PTS Parachute Training School

PTU Parachute Training Unit

RAFFC Royal Air Force Flying College

RAE Royal Aircraft/Aeronautical ?? Establishment

RRE Radar Research Establishment

TCDF Transport Command Development Flight

TCDU Transport Command Development Unit

TCASF Transport Command Air Support Flight

TRE Telecommunications Research Establishment

WEE

Ministry of Supply

 

51 Sqn

Operated at least one HP Hastings from February 1963 through to March 1967 supporting Canberras and Comets from RAF Wyton.

 

 

1312 Flight

Was formed at RAF Abingdon in 1954 and disbanded in 1957 operating Hastings aircraft

Anyone want to add anything please contact me on the header bar

 

 

 

Further reading on the Berlin Airlift 1948/49

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Splashdown on the Equator
The crash of Hastings TG579 of 48 Squadron at RAF Gan
 
 
RAF Changi 48 Squadron/FECs/Beverleys
 
 
The Goldfish Club for ditched flyers
 
 
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Splashdown in the Mediterranean Hastings TG613
 
 
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