Air Vice-Marshal Chesworth was one of the RAF’s leading post-war operators in the maritime air role. Flying Sunderlands in Korea he was awarded the DFC and he later he flew Shackleton and Nimrod aircraft. He commanded the first Nimrod squadron and later was the station commander at RAF Kinloss, the home of three Nimrod squadrons. When serving as the Chief of Staff of No 18 Group he co-ordinated the air operations in support of the fleet during the Falkland’s war and oversaw the Vulcan attack (Black Buck) on Stanley Airport. Later he was Lord Lieutenant of Morayshire.
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Air Vice-Marshal Peter Collins played a major role in the development and operation of the Mach 2 Lightning fighter. He was one of the original RAF pilots to evaluate the aircraft and he served as a test pilot, flight commander, squadron commander and station commander of Lightning units including RAF Gutersloh near the Inner German border. As an air commodore he served as the SASO at HQ 11 (Fighter) Group where he continued to have responsibility for the last of the Lightning squadrons.
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After a brief spell as an observer in Blenheim night fighters during the Battle of Britain, Ted Summers joined a ferry unit at Takoradi in the God Coast and led many air convoys of aircraft on the Trans-Africa Ferry route to Cairo via Khartoum. He was awarded the AFM. Later he served on Hudsons on anti-submarine work. Post-war he played a leading role during the Mau Mau campaign, for which he was appointed OBE, and served in charge of operations on a V-bomber base.
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On Saturday 27 May, I joined a number of colleagues at the Duxford Air Show. We had been invited to join my old friend Andrew Brookes whose book Canberra Boys was being launched with a signing. This is the latest edition in the superb ‘Boys’ series published by Grub Street. Andy had invited some of his old Canberra chums to contribute and he asked me to write a chapter on my experiences as a first-tour navigator on a photographic reconnaissance squadron in RAF Germany – halcyon days. The many enthusiasts kept us busy all day signing copies and swapping yarns. A great day at a great show.
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Rex Sanders was the lead navigator for two top-secret reconnaissance operations over the Soviet Union in the early 1950s. Flying a USAF RB-45C carrying RAF markings, he made two flights on Operation Ju-Jitsu to gather electronic and photographic intelligence. He had served on Halifax’s during the Second World War joining his squadron as the Battle of Berlin commenced in 1943-44. His 33 operations earned him the DFC. Later in his RAF career he specialised in guided weapons.
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The latest edition of Fly Past profiles the Buccaneer in its series of Britain’s Cold War Guardians. Two articles cover the role of No. 208 Squadron with the squadron’s last CO, Wing Commander Nigel Huckins, outlining the twilight years in his article Duty Carried Out. I look at the squadron’s role assigned to the Northern Region of NATO (AFNORTH) and the development of the training to suit this demanding and unique role. This includes detachments to train at Red Flag, Maple Flag and the Tactical Bombing Competition in addition to regular visits to Royal Norwegian Air Force airfields.
John Cockburn was a leading British test pilot who made a major contribution to the development of aircraft avionics, including the air intercept radar for the Lightning fighter and the terrain following radar later introduced into the Tornado strike aircraft. His services to the aviation industry were recognised by the award of a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air and his appointment as OBE.
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