Hunter 1958 - 1965 (9)

…... of using our practice rockets equipped with concrete heads and these became 60lb ‘supersonic sledgehammers’ with devastating effects on the mud walled forts. It is not often that the RAF can get the upper hand over the British Army out in the field but in the early stages of Operation Nutcracker we did just that and it worked out very well to our mutual benefit. Shortly before this Operation the RAF had introduced the UHF radio onto the Hunter Force and the early installation did cause us many

problems in the Middle East – due mainly to the extremes of temperature. The BASO ground UHF installation came built into a refrigerator; but sadly, it had little effect upon the efficacy of the radio so we borrowed three of the Army’s FAC backpacks and set up our radio centre. The question now arose as what to do with the white elephant sitting in the corner of our tent. The follow-up question was put to our tame signaller as to whether or not he could extract the electronics but retain the refrigerator. In a flash we had a refrigerator waiting to be stocked!  A day or so later the Brigadier in command came into the BASO tent having, quite obviously, suffered a bad day! (19). “How would you like an ice cold beer served in a frosted glass Sir”. The look on his face when just such a luxury was proffered will live with me forever. Roy Bowey had requested the assistance of the Hunter Wing and ‘Twin Pin Air’ had flown the beer and the tankards in that very morning. The outcome was that before long our tent was the focal point for meetings and the nightly ‘O’ Group was held there; the stock of beer was constantly topped up from anonymous donations from around the Base Camp.

For sometime there had been discussions about one of the three Sqns going up to Bahrain on a permanent basis – there were plus points  - mainly they would be a long way from Command but many negative points – mainly regarding the social scene and the flying could potentially be less fun and less demanding. In late May it was decreed that 208 was to be the Sqn to go and take up permanent residence in the Persian Gulf. Someone told Dilys, the Boss’ wife of this move on the beach and it can be well imagined what points he scored in the dining-out night from the Khormaksar Mess. That was a dining-out night of immense proportions with all 11 flying squadrons represented and all required 208 to compete against them – we did and won most of the encounters but there were very many battered bodies and extremely sore heads the next morning. The reasons for the decision were never made known and to this day, I cannot find out who made the decision and why it was made!  That having been said we were the beneficiaries of the decision.


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