Aviation Historian 22
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L.Gaylard - The fall of Damien
The Nimrod R.1s were progressively upgraded throughout their careers, with the addition of wingtip pods to house additional electronic equipment and finlets on the tailplane to improve handling. Seen here touching down at Wyton, XW664 was despatched to the South Atlantic in 1982 and reportedly undertook night missions in Chilean airspace in support of operations against Argentina during the Falklands conflict.
“Damien” awaits another sortie at Wyton in October 1988. By this time the Nimrod fleet had adopted the hemp colour scheme with pale grey undersides and toned-down national roundels. Note also the squadron’s flying goose emblem painted in a circle on the Nimrod's dorsal fillet.
Nimrod R.1 XW666 at No 51 Sqn’s base at RAF Wyton in the 1970s, photographed in its original grey maritime colour scheme.
Nimrod R.1 XW665 in the later “hemp” scheme.
Taken some time before the application of the toned-down insignia, this photograph of XW666 at RAF Alconbury shows the aircraft with standard Type B roundels and fin flash. The Nimrod R.1s were later painted in a grey scheme, although XW666 was still in its hemp colours when it ditched in 1995.
On ditching, XW666 broke into two major sections and, after Art Stacey and his crew had evacuated the aircraft, began to sink. The forward fuselage and inner wing sections remained in one piece and were salvaged (left), as was the starboard outer wing section (centre). The cockpit (right) was removed from the fuselage and remains on display at the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum at Aeroventure, near Doncaster.
Nimrod R.1 XW666 in the waters of the Moray Firth immediately after its ditching on May 16, 1995.