British officer trained as observer with Observers School at Royal Naval Air Station, Culdrose and 766 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm in GB, 1957-1958; served with 894 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm aboard HMS Eagle in Mediterranean and Far East, 1958-1960; with 890 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm in GB and aboard HMS Hermes in Mediterranean and Far East, 1960-1961; served with 831 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in GB, 1961-1963; served with 809 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm in GB, 1963-1964
REEL 1 Background in GB, 1938-1956: family; education; early interest in flying. Aspects of enlistment and training as midshipman with Fleet Air Arm at HMS St Vincent in GB, 1956-1957: background to enlistment in Fleet Air Arm; selection as observer; aptitude tests at RAF Hornchurch; arrival at HMS St Vincent at Gosport; drill; character of routine; accommodation; pattern of training; sea training aboard HMS aircraft carrier; treatment of midshipmen and cadets on board; sleeping in hammocks. Aspects of period as midshipman with Observers School at Royal Naval Air Station, Culdrose in GB, 1957-1958: start of observer training; presence of German personnel on course; navigational training; pattern of training; types of aircraft used; preference for fighters.
REEL 2 Continues: familiarisation with jet aircraft. Aspects of period of observer with 766 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm at Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton in GB, 5/1958-8/1958: opinion of De Havilland Venom; observer’s position in De Havilland Venom; use of radar; story of crash with all weather flypast for Duchess of Kent; attitude to service deaths; division of labour between pilot and observer; night interception training; use of homing beacon; prior recollection of escape and evasion exercise; ejection seat and ditching training; crewing up at end of course.
REEL 3 Continues: Recollections of period as observer with 894 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm aboard HMS Eagle in Mediterranean and Far East, 1958-1959: joining squadron in Mediterranean, 9/1958; organisation of squadron; divisional responsibilities; visits to chief’s mess; aircrew numbers and relations with ship’s crew; accommodation; story of carrier’s helicopter pilot rescuing American pilot in Subic Bay in Philippines; use of catapult and arrester wires; incident of his pilot who had vertigo during deck landing; landing on; briefings and de-briefings; opinion of De Havilland Sea Venom; viewing platform; duties in Mediterranean; accidental attack on USS McGowan; relations with Americans.
REEL 4 Continues: visit to US aboard HMS Victorious. Recollections of period as observer with 890 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm in GB and aboard HMS Hermes in Mediterranean and Far East, 1960-1961: appointment to squadron; character of De Havilland Sea Vixen including layout of cockpit; incident of observer who ejected after wings were not locked; armaments aboard De Havilland Sea Vixen; LABs movement; converting to De Havilland Sea Vixen and working up; problems of bailing out of De Havilland Sea Vixen; character of HMS Hermes.
REEL 5 Continues: early warning system employed from carrier; recites poem relating to Blackburn Buccaneer Mk 1; low flying over Aden; exercises in Indian Ocean; return to GB, 5/1961. Aspects of period as observer with 831 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in GB, 1961-1963: attitude to initial appointment to squadron; character of squadron; opinion of Captain Jozef Bartosik; opinion of Fairey Gannet; story of deck landing accident aboard HMS Ark Royal; pattern of service on leaving squadron.
REEL 6 Continues: Aspects of period as observer with 809 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm in GB, 1963-1964: opinion of Blackburn Buccaneer Mk 1; incident of problem with Blackburn Buccaneer due to water on trim switch. Various aspects of period as observer with Fleet Air Arm from 1964: appointment to 801 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm aboard HMS Victorious in Far East; pattern of duties on leaving squadron after leaving squadron; incident of pilot who bailed out over Nigeria.
REEL 7 Continues: reasons for leaving Fleet Air Arm; attitude to service with Fleet Air Arm.