Hunter 1958 - 1965 (5)

…... training sorties were flown because HQ Mid East restricted the hours for supply reasons.  The squadron was pleased to be stood down on 8th August and returned to Bahrain where they were able to carry out training flying.  After a further spell in Kuwait, when the aeroes team did some work up flying, and a brief time in Bahrain the squadron flew back to Khormaksar and thence Kenya, in early December having been away for 5 months.  A few days later they were told that they were to move up to

Khormaksar permanently and they flew in on 31st December 1961; the wives and families followed some weeks later.  The second GA squadron took up residence in Aden 3 years after the initial decision that such a squadron was needed!

By recent standards, the year of 1962 was a mundane year: the cycle of periodic detachments to Bahrain was established but now there were three Hunter Squadrons because 43 had joined 8 & 208, so every two months in six was in the Persian Gulf and while in Aden periodic detachments to East Africa were carried out.  The flying in Aden was regular patrols along the Yemeni border and up and down the coast looking for gun running and smuggling.  The squadron’s roles at this time were close support, interdiction, counter-air, air defence and visual reconnaissance and they were all routinely practiced.

During this period the Sqn flew many long range transit sorties and on many of the routes there was very little to see and the No.2s in each section had difficulty in keeping their attention on the task in hand.  Mac MacDermid, along with most of the leaders, took up the suggestion of asking the No 2s where the formation was relative to the planned route.  This practice came to an abrupt halt when the JPs came up with a merry gape!  At each 10 minute point along the route they wrote down the 12 figure Lat/Long co-ordinate and when they were asked the question; a quick check on the stopwatch and they had the answer!

I joined the squadron at the same time as the new squadron commander, Gordon Lewis in early 1963. By the middle of that year the experience level of the squadron had changed dramatically. When I joined as a 20 year old the Sqn had had a majority of experienced pilots with a sprinkling of JPs. However, by late ’63 there were the 6 senior pilots: the Boss, the Flt Cdrs, a QFI and a PAI [a pilot attack instructor] and the remaining 12 were on their first tour on Hunters. The JPs were mainly under 25 and one or two of us were much younger than that. We were extremely lucky as JPs because the senior pilots ran a tough but very fair system and we learnt quickly. The senior pilots were all graduates of the Day Fighter Leader School [DFLS], knew their job, and applied the rules with a strict discipline but made allowances


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