The Royal Air Force as seen by John Cooper

Home | Hastings TG577 | Guestbook | - | The PJM Medal | Handley Page Hastings | . | . | Index | - | RAF Changi | The Goldfish Club | RAF War Pensions | RAF Gan | RAF Negombo/Katunayake | An Airmans Daily Diary | The Civil Service Within The MoD | Bizarre and Tragic Accidents | Splashdown in the Med TG613 | 205/209 Sunderland Squadron RAF Seletar | Service Personnel Names | - | Hastings Bangs and Prangs and Splashes and Crashes | Hastings Elevator Problems | Contact Me


Try some of these forums/guestbooks for information on this site for ex RAF mates and RAF stations:

Map of the World Guestbook

Whenever I add anything to this site I will make the necessary amendments here (as some regular readers have requested) all you need to do is to click on to the text and you will be taken to the page that has been amended. Perhaps the easiest way to check on amendments is to bookmark this page into your 'favourites'.  
Updated 11th May 2004
A few of my own reminiscences of life at RAF Negombo
Regarding Hastings WD497 29/05/61 Seletar and TG508 07/03/58 at Thorney Island
Updated 13th May 2004 
Experiences from Colin Cullis on 52 Squadron
Updated 19th May 2004
New article on the Goldfish Club ditchings
Updated 20th May 2004
New article on 48 Squadron, Changi this time  about the Herkybird
Updated 21st May 2004
Update on RAF War Pension
Updated 22nd May 2004
Add Board of Inquiry reports
Updated 2nd June 2004
The last two CO's on 48 Squadron
Updated 3rd July 2004
Hastings Bangs and Prangs an update on TG577 from David Barrott
Updated 6th July 2004
New Index page added
Updated 16th July 2004
Story re Hastings TG575 by John Brignell
Updated 17th July 2004
Board of Inquiry Reports MoD
Updated 1st August 2004
2nd Lt Ray Veitch three times shot down into the sea
Updated 3rd August 2004
Len McNab Gan Transit Lounge added to Gan Pioneers
Updated 4th August 2004
A new website on the RNZAF added to the Links Page
Updated 6th August 2004
A piece on RAF Gan by Jim Duncan
Updated 31st August 2004
RAF Gan Pioneer 1957 Mike Plummer
Updated 11th September 2004
Were you RAF Groundcrew 1955-1970 and looking for old friends?
Updated 15th September 2004
An interesting link re the ditching of a Handley Page Halifax
Updated 17th September 2004
Plus Frank Imerson Gan Pioneer added to
Updated 20th September 2004
A link to RAAF Edinburgh Field, Woomera and Maralinga
Updated 21st September 2004
Dave Curnock's recollections of a Hastings (WD491) crash at RAF West Raynham
Updated 8th October 2004
Funny stories relating to RAF service added to:
Updated 9th October 2004
All pages updated plus added 'Where on Planet Earth are you from?
Updated 16th October 2004
New page 201 Squadron RAF St. Mawgan
Updated 17th October 2004
A story about a Gloster Javelin by Leon Smith
Updated 20th October 2004
A new web page added RAF El Adem TASS
Updated 22nd October 2004
A new web page added 29 (F) Squadron RAF Wattisham
Updated 23rd October 2004
A first mission ditching of a P51 by Steve Ananian
Updated 25th October 2004
A new web page added for #1ANS RAF Stradishall 1965-67
Updated 30th October 2004
Take a seat in a Hastings......preferably mine!
Updated 31st October 2004
John Anderson recalls ditching his Spitfire 2B
Updated 12th November 2004
New page started 'Website of the Week'
Updated 27th November 2004
Several Hastings photos in colour added to Webshots Album 2
Updated 18th December 2004
A brief Hastings trip has been added to
Updated 27th December 2004
Many pages updated or added to try this new forum
26th January 2005
Coming soon: A comprehensive look at the HP Hastings timeline and squadrons plus how radioactive material was carried to Christmas Island and Maralinga via Hastings
29th January 2005
The Negombo, Changi and Gan pages have been updated to include 52/110 Squadron Air Crew names
5th February 2005 Handley Page Hastings page has been updated to include Hastings Squadrons and units
and an update on RAF El Adem TASS
Updated 7th February 2005
Incident on 29 Sqn Wattisham by Al Lacey
Updated 21st February 2005
Fancy a seat on a Hastings carrying Nuclear Core for an A-Bomb?
Updated 12th March 2005
Pete Flounders reminiscences on FECs Changi
New member at RAF Katunayake found
Updated 19th March 2005
Colin Gibbs spent detachments at El Adem read it here
Updated 9th April 2005
Bert Morris was stationed on Gan in WW2 read his comments here
Updated 28th May 2005
Update on the Changi page and an update on the 205/209 Sunderland page, there is a reunion at Newark Air Museum on 12th June 2005 so if you haven't already registered an interest, time is running out!
Updated 04th June 2005
A couple of updates on Hastings prangs here
Updated 25th June 2005
Radioactive isotopes (Dental type) on main TG579 page
Updated 24th July 2005
New page on HP Hastings 67 Serial Numbers
Updated 30th July 2005
New section on RAF Changi opened up on discussion forum at
Updated 20th August 2005

A group of ex Seletar bods join in a chat room at

 weekdays 1500-1630hrs (UK time) you will need to register first though

Updated 10th September 2005

The many guard duties that everyone had to endure at RAF Seletar is highlighted in 'Seletar Remembered' by Alex Carrie on makes you wonder how todays Army etc would cope with this lot!!

........and more reading from Alex Carrie on his trip to Hong Kong for a month

Updated 1st October 2005

An account of flying to Africa by Pilot John Payne of 511 Squadron

Updated 10th October 2005

An account of Hastings aircraft and ATC Cadets by Doug Adams

Updated 22nd October 2005

John (Spike) Castle's pictures of a return to RAF Katunayake in October 2005

Updated 29th October 2005

Geoff Coates memories of a trip to Maralinga in 1957

Updated 5th November 2005

An anecdote from Ernie Bullock on El Adem

Updated 13th November 2005

Les Bywaters on the Hastings

Updated 26th November 2005

Updates on members and threads on RAF Forum

Updated 3rd December 2005 one 1958 Christmas Card from Katunayake on 1st RAF Katunayake Album and two photos of 29 Sqn Lightnings on 29 Sqn Album

Updated December 17th 2005

Recalling events at Seletar and Tengah in 1961 by Stephen Cochrane

22nd January 2006

Two stories from readers on Hastings crashes

Updated 4th February 2006

New photos of RAF Changi from 1962 has been posted on the Webshots album below

Updated 11th February 2006

Cecil Irvine has sent in an eye witness of a Hastings crash WJ335 at Abingdon in 1953

40 new members have joined the forum this week

Saturday 25th February 2006

46 new members joined the RAF forum this week

Saturday March 11th 2006

Much activity on and more photos on Webshots been added 

Saturday March 18th 2006

Many new photos of El Adem have been added to the Webshots album

from 1957 by Ted Marston/Bruno Prince

Saturday April 1st 2006

Last month there was over 50000 hits to the forum, over 1400 new comments and over 50 new ex RAF bods join in the banter, why  not come and join in, its free!

Saturday 8th April 2006

Lots of activity on the above board in this last week

Wednesday 26th April 2006

The RAF Forum board now ranks second of 12 million pages on a Google search engine

Plus did you serve in Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei/Borneo between 1957 & 1966, a new medal has been awarded by the King of Malaysia read about it here or the forum here

Saturday 29th April 2006

The voyage forum here is by post approval only now, too many people planting medicine adverts, so apologies if this affects you.

Saturday 6th May 2006

A new RAF Chatroom has started here 0900/1400/2000hrs UK time daily or make your own arrangements as the room is open 24/7

Saturday 3rd June 2006

If you are entitled to the new PJM Medal by serving in Malaysia between 1957-1966 click here we need your support

Updated 24th June 2006

Still wanting ' new recruits ' for the forum, if you haven't registered it is for free so come and join in on the banter 

Updated 8th July 2006

Re The PJM The UK Government have agreed to a review on 'the non wearing issue' which is great news, read about it here

Updated 22nd July 2006

The first PJM Medals were presented in London on the 19th July 2006

Photos here

Updated August 12th 2006

The MoD have classified the PJM as a 'souvenir, or 'keepsake' demeaning its value to lots of Veterans, see the above website for comments

Updated August 26th 2006

Anyone interested in meeting a load of ex RAF bods next Saturday 2nd September 2006 at Newark Aviation Museum, Nottinghamshire, then read about it here

Saturday September 16th 2006

The first PJM medals are being presented outside London, I have been informed I will receive mine on October 1st 2006 at Colchester

Saturday 30th September 2006

Final details about the Colchester Castle Park Presentations is that the event starts at The War Memorial at 0945hrs cummulating with a stone laying ceremony, medal presentation and march past. I have been informed that TV and the press will be in attendance.

Saturday October 14th 2006

A brilliant day at The NMBVA Stone Laying Ceremony on October 1st at Colchester Castle, I felt very proud to be part of this event, details of the parade and ceremony can be found here

Updated Saturday 4th November 2006

Anyone wishing to meet at Duxford on Sunday 12th November 2006 please see the top post on the RAF Forum here

Saturday 9th December 2006

Well November been and gone and no news on The PJM Medal reversal except that HMG will make an announcement 'soon'.

Saturday 23rd December 2006

Nothing further to add on the PJM until HMG returns from Christmas Holidays after Jan 2nd 2007, meanwhile Happy Christmas to all our readers.

Saturday 6th January 2007

Delivery of the PJM is being stepped up, the first batch has been delivered to British Aussies from Canberra whilst at home venues are being set up for recipients to receive theirs. 130 in Ipswich at the end of January and a large venue in Birmingham within the next few weeks. The fight to wear continues! 

Saturday 20th January 2007

Re the PJM nothing to add, we keep badgering the Top Civil Servants and every obstacle possible has been put in our way, we are very angry!

Saturday 28th April 2007

I do apologise for not updating this website as frequently as I used to but most of the activity has been transferred to this forum here, if you are ex RAF then this is a must for you

Updated 12th May 2007

Loads of activity on the forum, now averaging 100 new posts each day, don't miss out on everything RAF!

Updated Saturday 30th June 2007

There are a couple of updates on Hastings Bangs & Prangs page re TG602 and TG562 

Updated Saturday July 21st 2007

Any of you regulars wishing to meet up at Duxford on Sunday 11th November 2007 please see here

Updated Saturday August 4th 2007

The RAF Forum is now taking 2000+ hits a day with 80+ new posts being recorded daily, why not be part of it!

Updated Saturday 11th August 2007

The RAF Forum page has today been updated and an update to the PJM Page


Saturday August 25th 2007

An ex Battle of Britain Pilot has joined the forum here


Updated Saturday 9th February 2008

There are now over 36000 posts on the RAF Forum here which has attracted over 1000000 hits, don't miss out come and join in the banter............


For some reason GOOGLE have deemed iit necessary to place a notice stating that whilst searching ths site that doing so may harm your computer, I have seen no evidence of this and indeed other search engines do not pass on the same message and is still accessible. I have in the meantime opened up a 'more safer' website which I hope 'nerds' avoid attacking whoever they may be?


Updated 10th April 2008

The GOOGLE problem appears to have been resolved regarding the site, why these restrictions were put in place remains a mystery.....

Today I have added a brief report of the demise on WD484 at Boscombe Down.

Due to 'overstretch' can you please see the forum for updates here there are now 1.7 million hits and 45000 posts with over 1200 ex RAF types taking part, you never know who you might meet!


November 2008

Some of us are meeting up at Duxford Museum on Sunday 9th November '08 at 1030hrs under the nose of Concorde if you want to join us feel free.

The forum above has now had over 2.1 million hits with over 60000 posts and 1500+ members why not be part of it?


February 14th 2009 on Bangs & Prangs page


On 22nd June 1953 was ready for take off at RAF Abingdon with a crew of six onboard. It has been stated that WJ335 rose to approximately 300' when it stalled and crashed with the loss of the six crew.

The report suggests that the elevator control locks had been in the engaged position or reapplied after release, there had been an apparent modification to prevent this from occuring.

I received these two emails from Brian Collins this week mid February 2009

Dear Mr Cooper,

I believe that I can correct the brief report on this crash that you include in your website. I was a newly commissioned Army Second Lieutenant at the time. I had volunteered for service in Airborne Forces and in June 1953 was a member of a class of about 30 soldiers on the Parachute Course at RAF Abingdon.

On 22 June we were scheduled to make our first jump from an aircraft and while we were waiting in the "Sweat-box", a hut on the edge of the airfield, the RAF Officer in charge of our course came in and told us that there would be a short delay because "a Hastings from Lyneham was on its way to pick us up"
Sure enough, a few minutes later, he came back and told us to line up outside the hut and watch the plane arrive. I clearly remember seeing the Hastings come in low from the West, and it seemed to land heavily tail wheel first. It then cart-wheeled forward over onto its back and burst into flames.
The RAF Officer, with amazing coolness said something like "Sorry about that, chaps, but we will have another plane here for you soonest". He was quite right, a second Hastings arrived very quickly and we emplaned, took off and all jumped safely at RAF Watchfield.
You will see therefore why I know that the reason that you give for this accident, namely "crashed on take off" is incorrect. The plane crashed while coming into land.
Please let me know if I can help further.
Brian Collins

.....a further email in response to my reply

Thank you for your response.
It certainly was a day to remember, especially as I had never flown in a plane before (our two previous jumps had been from a balloon). I can also add that we were told that three of the fatal casualties were a spare crew that was hitching a ride from Lyneham to Abingdon. The narrative in the link that you gave me is a puzzle. It certainly does not tally with what I saw on that June morning. Please use my account if you wish.

Brian Collins


Saturday 29th August 2009

I have started up a new page on Hastings TG577, if you look on the header bar you will see a link here


Saturday 19th September 2009

For anyone who has a connection with the RAF or USAAF at Martlesham Heath a new dedicated web forum has been started here, if you can any add any memories or photos that would be great, thank you


I am still looking for photos & memories of this once famous Battle of Britain station, can you please help RAF Martlesham Heath


3rd July 2010

Patrick Duncan wrote on 30th June 2010
I was an Air/Sig on 47 Sqn in the briefing room at Lyneham about to depart on the 'Fayid Slip' on 20th July 1953. I recall a FltSgt (?) Nav arriving in a rush having been called out from his married quarter to take over from the original Nav who had gone sick. He had just acquired the necessary Air Almanacs to cover UK to Changi, quite a large bundle tied up with lashing tape.
From my log book I see we departed for Luqa at 1515hrs, obviously with the usual delay! We returned to Luqa from Fayid on 23rdJuly and I have memories of the NCO crew of 613 arriving in the Transit Mess, flying suits, hands and faces glowing bright orange from the fluorescine dye marker used in the life jackets. We had quite a party, there was always a large number of slip crews at Luqa whilst the slip service was operating. I said to the Nav that he need not have bothered to acquire all the Air Almanacs after all! He said his most vivid memory was of climbing into the dinghy to be confronted by the AirCmdr with his hat on and the 'scrambled Egg' on the peak glinting in the bright sunshine!
In addition to the 'gulping' problem, at the time the Hastings engines were also prone to 'coring' but this could be overcome by feathering the affected donk for a short time then restarting it. 613 lost oil pressure and temps off the clock, it would have resulted in fire if the engines were not feathered. The pilot did a great job and fully deserved the AFC. 
Updated 12th December 2010
A photograph of crashed Hastings TG559 by Stanley England that crashed at Abingdon 9th October 1953
Updated 8th January 2011
Many entries on the RAF Forum above with over 4 million hits now, 2500+ members and 140000 posts
Updated November 19th 2011
Now over 6000000 hits, 3000 registered members and close to 170000 posts
We are also looking at Hastings TG602 which crashed in 1953 in the Canal Zone your help is required please if you visit here










Plus many photos added to RAF El Adem, RAF Katunayake, Negombo photos on on a weekly/monthly basis

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Copyright 2011 John Cooper