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TOPIC: Memories of Changi


Administrator - SWO

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RE: Memories of Changi
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Todays background photo is of a Dan Air York I took in 1959 at RAF Katunayake, it can be seen on my Kat Webshots Album 4 or 5 along with other Yorks.


Some of this cargo was what a mate still refers to as HOT BLANKETS, another mate recalls that at Changi a Hastings was being sprayed by the Fire Service to keep the inside temperature down on 'delicate instruments'. These cargo aircraft were transitted via Changi to Woomea and Maralinga via RAAF Edinburgh Field and would fly by day keeping the contents cool and park up for overnight stops often with an armed guard.


One such Avro Tudor crashed on top of Turkeys highest mountain with the 'blankets' on board a team of 'specialists' from Cyprus took a few days to locate the scene and then destroy the crgo in situ.


One chap I met up with at Newark in June actually flew as one passenger in a Hastings that carried THE BOMB to ChristmasIsland in 1958, he didn't know what the cargo was until he got there and wondered what the accompanying Group Captain kept doing with the instrument every hour, it was a geiger counter!



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Hi Gary, Don't know what happened there, just lost everything, however, I am replying to your skin of YORKS, picture is too small to read the registration, however, I'd bet it's Cap'n Falconers steed.If so it would be G-ANTI, (formerly RAF YORK MW143), if it has a Wallaby painted under the cockpit windows, it is the same kite. The Wallaby was the result of it having gone u/s when stopping over at Alice Springs, incidently, 'the book, A Town Like Alice, was written by Neville Shute, who was actually taken to Alice by Dan Dare's mob, Neville Shute died in Australia. A sister YORK was G-ANTK (alias RAF MW 232) of which I have a beaut CORGI Model of. The Tudor that went in the Turkish Mountains was flown by my friend's other Buddy, it crashed in bad weather into Mt Ararat and was carrying shh shh (Blue Streakstuff to Woomera or Maralinga), I have a letter containing details, albeit brief, as my mate Pat (G-Anti's skipper) was playing cards with the Tudor's crew the night before the Tudor left U.K.The Tudor belonged to Don Bennett's British South African Airways or BSAA, they also lost Tudor Star Tiger and Star Arial over the Bermuda Triangle. I understand that BOAC and the Brit Government did everything possible to make life hard for ex Raf Bomber Ace Don Bennett when he opened up the new BSAA in the early fifties.


I'll forward any data I can find, as it helps dig out memories and such, then perhaps even more folk will get into the act, heaven knows there's heaps of information just laying dormant at present.


The last YORK aircraft to fly commercially in Britain was York G-ANTK (RAF MW 232) she flew from London LAP to Manchester's Ringway 30-4-64, I was on Approach Control when the Skipper requested weather update prior to joining airway Amber 1, I would have liked to have seen the old girl but of course I was then at Shawbury School of Navigation and Control. The aircraft did survive the axe however and is enshrined at Duxford Air Museum.


This'll be the last post for a few days so I'll wish you a fantastic Christmas Gary and thanks for thie wonderful Forum, you deserve a medal for all the hard yacka you've put into it.


Cheers for now, D1 Control



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T.K. Offord.


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These Yorks used to be crammed to the gunnels, I find it hard to believe how they managed to lift off with that weight aboard, did these kites land at Paya Lebar or Changi BTW? I can't recall now whether the Hastings took the cargo to Darwin and then Edinburgh Field from Changi that would make sense for the Yorks to stopover at Changi.


Re the York at Duxford Terry, I saw that being refurbished from its early years to its full completion. In fact 3 years ago I organised a Reunion for ex Far East guys at Dux and our meeting place was going to be G-ANTK, but as Health & Safety hadn't passed the aircraft for visitors to have a look inside this was barred so we used nearby Concorde 002 instead with G-ANTK as a backdrop


I'm sure your G-ANTI would have been touched by my unwashed hands at Negombo sometime and the kangaroo emblem rings a bell, the pic on the background yesterday was illegible on the full blow up, next time I get those slides down from the loft I will have another look


Thanks for your comments and seasons greetings to posters and readers alike


Details of the TUDOR crash are here and this is an official site


http://www.rafmountainrescue.com/Article%20Archive/2%20Star%20Red/Chapter%205/Two%20Star%20Red%20Chapter%205.htm


 



-- Edited by Admin at 09:23, 2005-12-24

-- Edited by Admin at 15:15, 2005-12-24

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Hi Gary, Thanks for the last highly interesting posting re the TUDOR, the few notes I found written by my old mate Pat Falconer, oddly, he didn't mention the Registration however, the cargo appeared to be 'something else', as I mentioned, Pat had been playing cards the previous night with the Ill fated Tudor's skipper, his name was Mick Butcher ex RAF Lysander pilot of 139 Sqdn, during WWII, he flew agents in and out of Europe, he was a 'special' and very crack pilot to whom the trip across Lake Van, despite the proximity of a chain of mountains, would have caused little anxiety, undoubtably, the unpredictable weather was a factor and possible cause of the crash.Given the extra precautionary 'way-point' checks that would have been instituted, the flight's abrupt end denied the opportunity to send a mayday.


The location was given to me as Supha Dan and since Pat flew the route twice monthly, U.K to Singapore return, he knew the route legs well. 


Concerning the survival team from Nicosia, one may only marvel at their prowess, the extremes of weather in that part of Turkey are perhaps unfamiliar to many, never-the-less, along with the amazing 70 Sqdn and the chopper pilots, I think we are safe in saying that we have the best mountain rescue service team in the world.


The name of the Tudor's Airline was BSAA and it was owned by ex Pathfinder Don Bennet, I understand that Don went on to own other charter airlines after the demise of BSAA who routes were really on the fringes of practicability in terms of endurance/weather/cargo and one may only give great credit to the guys who flew those aircraft, given also, the primitive conditions they endured compared with today's amazing nav systems.


The dramatic but yet tragic story of the attempted rescue would make an excellent film I feel.


Thanks again for that insight, Cheers D 1 Control.



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T.K. Offord.


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Whilst on the memories of Changi, does anyone know what has happened to the Changi Association website, it seems to have disappeared. There are some 12000 members of the Association, Mike James was always in charge of the Association that I recall.


I'm surprised that there is not a dedicated website to this huge station with its FEAF HQ at Fairy Point, the Changi Creek Transit Section and of course the airfield itself which handled all military aircraft of different nationalities.


There was of course the BMH (hospital) the infamous Changi prison, the fantastic golf course and swimming pool, I'm sure I could have walked around that station for 30 months holding a piece of paper and no one would have known which section I worked in


 



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Admin wrote:


There was of course the BMH (hospital) the infamous Changi prison




Yes, I remember RAF Changi Hospital. I remember one evening driving up to Changi, as I got near the cross over runway, I saw a lovely sun-set so I got out of the car and took a photograph. Why do I remember? Well, I was on the way to the hospital to meet my eldest daughter for the very first time.

And Changi Prison? Well they produced the Birth Announcement Cards for the same occasion.

Three of my four children were born in RAF Hospitals. My son at RAF Wroughton, the next as mentioned, the next girl in RAF Ely. The last daughter was born a "fair dinkum Aussie" in Midland, Western Australia, 3 years after I had left the RAF.

At the moment, all three of my girls live in Townsville, where my wife and I live.

ooroo



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Hednesford SqBashing 1955, Honington 57 Sdn 1955, Wildenrath Comm Sdn 1957, Lyneham Line Servicing 1959, Changi Inst Shop 1962, RAF Butterworth 52 Sqn 1962, Wyton 51 Sdn 1964. Demob 1967.




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Hi John, re the YORKS landing at Changi (WSRC) yes, if they were carrying 'hot blankets' otherwise they'd lob into the then new Paya Lebar, previously Kallang airport which is now an amusement park, you were correct in assuming that the Hasty birds took 'stuff' up to Edinburgh Field or to Darwin or the red centre, wherever it was needed.


Concerning the 'over stuffed' kites, again, yes, up to 3000 lbs in some notorious cases, although the risk factor was always considered and the 'wet' season was best with the lower ground  air temperatures and thus denser airmass which enabled, albeit, a very long roll before V2.One or two of Dan Dare's mob did risk heavier take off loads and when on watch in the tower, I would always attempt to get 'upstairs' into Local Control so that I could watch the laborious run those poor old Yorks sometimes made, they did however, so long as the cog was in order for the trim, tho my buddy did tell me that on more than one occasion, he thought they'd end up in Changi Creek.Cheers for now Terry 'O'.



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T.K. Offord.




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Hi John,


I must change some details in my previous posting, concerning the TUDOR incident of April 23rd, 1959, the aircraft was owned, not by BSAA (British South American Airlines) but by Air Charter Ltd, the registration was G- AGRH cn 1256, I believe that AIr Charter later amalgamated with Hunting Clan or one of the many other Large Brit Charter companies.


The aircraft was a Avro Super Trader 688, posh name for a Tudor 3, not many of these a/c were built, I believe 30 at most with the '3' being meant for mixed pax/cargo.


Seems the weather played a major part in the loss as according to the ICAO report, the winds were stronger than forecast, an NDB bearing was unavailable from   MUS, (one of the waypoints) and the next NDB should have been VAN but the crash must have occured shortly before check in time. The sub normal temperature experienced at the time threw out the altimeter giving it a higher reading than was the reality, thus he'd have been at 12/13,000 ft, (acccording to my friend Pat's calculations, rather than above the 14000 plus he was flight planned for,) though the skipper wouldn't have known the facts as they occured, sadly.


I regret that my 'Random Access Memory' isn't what it used to be I had to dig up some old data but I dislike inaccuracies and I felt I had to point out my original errors.


P.S. I find it extraordinary that despite the hits, we appear to have little response from 'out there', surely there must be readers who have information of interest to others on the matters we discuss?


Cheers for Now, D 1 Control.



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T.K. Offord.


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Terry


I reckon we would have seen those Tudors in at RAF Negombo, we often got a plain brown envelope for doing jobs that we shouldn't have been doing Still it all helped to sink a few more beers


Recall a York going through to Oz once where there was a gash in the side of the fuselage, we hadn't got the right guage aluminium to fix it so someone came up with a biscuit tin lid!


I can recall opening up a cowling on one York and instead of a hinge pin holding the cowling in place it was held together with string...........and I kid you not!!!!!


Re the posts well mate here we are the 29th of the month and so far this December there has been 11500 hits, that is amazing but as you say so few posts. I could go on for ever with memories but I don't want to hog the site>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>!



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Remember being Guard commander at Changi whilst waiting for a flight to Negombo at the end of the gulf trouble and at the time could not understand why we needed armed guards for medical supplies and blankets.


But on leaving Changi in due course for the the beloved Negombo and having to do the same duty on Hastngs, Tudors and Yorks I asked one of the civvie Flt. Eng. and he said its going to make a big bang.


But I askyou gentlemen can you imagine someone with a rifle and the ammo in his pocket being on guard, if we had been attacked I would have won the race to get away.


Greycat   



-- Edited by Greycat at 16:42, 2005-12-29

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