Hunter 1958 - 1965 (4)

In March 1960 the Squadron (11) en masse, pilots and ground crew returned to Stradishall to convert to the Hunter FGA9. In May, they returned to Kenya by way of Malta, Cyprus, Diyarbakir [Turkey] Teheran, Bahrain and Khormaksar – 7000 miles in 21/2 days; at the time a record for RAF aircraft in transit. The Hunter could not operate of the 1500 yard strip at Eastleigh, so they transferred to

Embakasi the newly opened international airport. The 5000 yards of macadam at 5000 feet above sea level made life very much easier but on a hot day at the back end of a large formation, it was barely adequate as we found out three years later to much sucking of teeth by numbers 9 and 10. The formation aeroes team was reformed and many of you will have seen the iconic photos of the 208 4 over Mounts Kenya (12) and Kilimanjaro (13).  The squadron flew displays throughout the Middle East gaining extremely good press.         

In March 1961 Mike Goodfellow took command of the Squadron and soon thereafter led a detachment to Cyprus for air-to- air Armament Practice Camp on the way there they ferried via Teheran and on the return via el Adem and Khartoum.  On 26th June, following the threat of an attack on Kuwait by the Iraqis, the Squadron was given notice to prepare for a deployment to Bahrain and Kuwait.  Three days later, they ferried their aircraft to Bahrain via Khormaksar and Sharjah; the next day a reconnaissance of Kuwait was flown and two days later the squadron moved in and immediately went on patrol of the Kuwait – Iraqi border.

The operating conditions in Kuwait in June were singularly unpleasant; there was insufficient accommodation for anyone; the only air-conditioned quarters were 15 miles away at the local oil company’s HQ.  Crews often took to sleeping on or under the wings of their aircraft and on one occasion Slash Slaney, one of the pilots, fried an egg on the wing of his aircraft at midday; there is no record of anyone having eaten the egg! The normal temperature in the operations area was 100 degrees F and 92% humidity – emergency water containers in the ejection seat were near boiling. The flying was, apparently, mundane and boring and very few


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