Aviation Historian 15
G.Ellis - Brothers in Arms
Big aeroplane, (comparatively) small carrier - a pair of Scimitars stand on the prow of HMS Eagle in 1968, alongside a Blackburn Buccaneer S.1 and a Fairey Gannet AEW.3, with Sea Vixens ranged aft. Even the largest of the Royal Navy’s carriers had shorter flight decks than those of their "small” Essex-class American counterparts.
Unknown to the Rhodesians, HMS Eagle was stationed off the coast of Tanzania in late November 1965. Seen here aboard Eagle in 1968 are Supermarine Scimitars, Blackburn Buccaneers, a Fairey Gannet AEW.3, de Havilland Sea Vixens and a Westland Wessex.
Ground support for the RAF’s operations in Zambia was vital and President Kaunda put his small fleet of Douglas C-47s at the disposal of the British forces. Here sundry items of equipment are unloaded by RAF Regiment personnel from a Zambia Air Force C-47 at Lusaka in 1966.
Royal Rhodesian Air Force pilots gather around the wing of a de Havilland Vampire FB.9 before a sortie. The Vampire entered service in Rhodesia in 1953. Note the three assegais in the standard RAF roundel, representing Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, at that time confederated states.
The first Rhodesian Hawker Hunter to be delivered, RRAF 116 was originally RAF F.6 XE559 before being converted to FGA.9 standard and flown to New Sarum in late 1962. At the time of the UDI the RRAF had 12 Hunters on strength.
Javelin FAW.9R XH892/B during its time in Zambia with No 29 Sqn, with full complement of wing-mounted long-range tanks for the flight back to Cyprus at the end of the unit’s 1965-66 African sojourn. This aircraft was withdrawn from service and put into storage in April 1967; it still survives and is on display at the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in the UK.
Looking somewhat weary, Javelin XH889/H taxies out for a sortie from N’dola in 1966. Like all the Javelins fielded by No 29 Sqn in Zambia, XH889 had been built as an FAW.7, but was upgraded to FAW.9R standard in 1959. By the end of April 1967 it had been put into storage with No 27 Maintenance Unit at Shawbury and a year later it was sold as scrap
29-я эскадрилья. В 1963 году эскадрилью передали из состава Истребительного командования в ВВС Ближнего Востока (эскадрилья всепогодных перехватчиков) и перебросили на Кипр, а в 1965 году - в Замбию (кризис в Родезии). Только в 1967 году ее вернули в Великобританию, a Javelin сменили на Lightning F.Mk 3.
A pair of RAF groundcrew members await the arrival of two aircrew of No 29 Sqn for another sortie from N’dola, during the unit’s deployment to Zambia in the wake of Rhodesia’s unilaterial declaration of independence in November 1965. Javelin FAW.9R XH890 was the only one lost of the ten deployed by No 29 Sqn to Zambia during 1965-66.
Javelins of No 29 Sqn muster at N’dola Airport in northern Zambia on December 4, 1965, the day after their arrival in country. The unit, whose motto is “Impiger etacer” - ‘‘Energetic and keen” - had converted from Meteor nightfighters to Javelins in late 1957, initially with FAW.6s before being upgraded to FAW.9s from the spring of 1961.
The Commanding Officer of No 29 Sqn, Wg Cdr Kit Burge (right), inspects a Firestreak air-to-air missile with a member of the groundcrew at one of the two bases used by the unit’s Javelins in Zambia. Note the purpose-made basket to protect the infra-red homing head of the missile while on the ground. Kit Burge served as No 29 Sqn’s CO from January 1965 to November 1966, spending much of that time in Zambia.
Javelin XH848/L at RAF Khormaksar in Aden with four long-range fuel tanks after having completed the first leg of its journey back to its base at Akrotiri on Cyprus from Zambia in September 1966. On December 14, 1966, this aircraft crashed when it stalled in the slipstream of another aircraft on final approach into Akrotiri.
The Javelins of No 29 Sqn and Bristol Britannia XM518 of RAF Transport Command share the limited space at Lusaka in 1966. Despite Wilson’s assertion that year that economic sanctions would see the matter resolved ‘‘within weeks rather than months”, the issue of Rhodesia’s government continued to be a thorny one in British politics throughout the next decade.
Carrying a pair of distinctive belly fuel tanks but no Firestreaks on its wings, a Javelin of No 29 Sqn is marshalled out for another sortie from N’dola. Most of the photographs taken during the unit’s stay in Zambia show the Javelins without Firestreaks; whether this was because the missiles were subject to attrition from termites and thus kept locked away, or because the Firestreaks may have been deemed to be overkill for the task at hand, is unknown.
Leaving a heat trail in its wake, a Javelin of No 29 Sqn roars away for another patrol sortie over the Zambezi River. Two-aircraft practice interceptions were conducted on a regular basis during the regular Monday to Friday flying routine, pilots from the opposing air arms often waving at each other from their respective aircraft.
Javelin XH890/M in the immediate aftermath of its landing accident at N’dola on February 6, 1966. The type being largely obsolete by this time, the stripped hulk was left behind when No 29 Sqn returned to Cyprus.
Carvair G-ASKG of Air Ferry Ltd was one of two leased from British United Air Ferries in December 1965 to deliver supplies from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania to Lusaka, where this photograph was taken, in support of British operations in Zambia. Both G-ASKG and G-APNH, the other leased Carvair, had returned to the UK by June 1966.
The Air Ferry Ltd ATL-98 Carvair just visible in the background of this photograph suggests that it was taken at Lusaka, where all civil operations in support of the RAF’s show of force were centred. As all airspace in the region was controlled from Salisbury, air traffic controllers in Zambia relied on “the enemy” for the safe conduct of air operations during the crisis.
An RAF Bristol Britannia is marshalled in at Lusaka, Zambia, in the wake of Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965.