Issue 8, Spring 2007


Newsletter of the 14 Squadron Association

Mike Napier

14 Squadron Phantom FGR2 flown by John Walliker circa 1974

photo Dave Farquarson

2006 Reunion

The Reunion on 14th October 2006 at the Garden House Hotel in Stamford was well-attended, with 45 diners including the Squadron’s current CO, Wing Commander Adrian Frost and 5 of his colleagues who flew down from Lossiemouth to join us. It was also great to see my predecessor Joe Lowder among the more ‘senior’ Old Crusaders, along with our President AV-M Deryck Stapleton, Brian Dutton, Arthur Galilee and Geoff Perks representing the 1940s. Snip Parsons and Bob Broad represented the 1950s, and once more we enjoyed good support from the ‘Canberra mob’ and some of the ‘original’ Tornado fliers. The Garden House Hotel looked after us all very well, though I think that we have now reached its capacity!

Date for your Diary

This year I am planning to arrange the Reunion on Saturday 13th October. As we have pretty much outgrown the Garden House Hotel, I’m hoping to be able to book a venue at RAF Cottesmore. Further details nearer the time - but keep 13th October free!

Pub Night - May 07

Dougie Potter is going to arrange a ‘Pub Night’ in London sometime in May. This will provide an opportunity for Crusaders to meet up for a pint or two in a less formal venue than the October Reunion. Hopefully we can generate enough interest to make a Pub Night an annual event. Once again I’ll circulate details nearer the time.


The Association membership is now running at 160 - a net growth of 10 over the last year. 2006 was a busy year from the Hon Sec’s point of view, with 140 letters written and over 80 received, plus similar numbers of e-mails. It is always a pleasure to hear from Old Crusaders and the volume of correspondence this year shows a healthily active membership! As ever e-mail has proved a very useful way of keeping in touch with our ex-wartime antipodean members - particularly Colin Campbell, John Robertson and Bill Cavanagh. Another regular correspondent from Downunder is Wal Clarke-Hall, who is now in his 93rd year!

Mataro Marauder

Hopefully some of you will have seen the article in the Dec issue of FlyPast magazine which summarised Peter Dawson’s research into the 14 Squadron Marauder which crashed off Mataro, near Barcelona in 1944. I’m also in touch with a member of the Catalunian Air Park who is carrying out a lot of further research into the loss of the aircraft. I’ll keep you posted.

Centenary Project

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed so far to the Centenary Project, which is gathering pace. I have now got quite a few photographs of 14 Squadron people/planes/places and I’m getting a number of reminiscences, too. Particular thanks to Colin Campbell who presented me with an entire film of photos taken around Alghero and Ghissonaccia in ‘44 and Dick Slatcher who gave me a number of photos of personnel from the same era. Norman Hooker, Bill Cavanagh and Ron Page have let me have some fantastic photographs of the Squadron in the early forties; Mike Levy, Geoff Perks and Derek Coleman have between them given me some good photographic coverage of the Squadron’s days as a Mosquito unit in the late ‘40s, and Bob Broad, Geoff Steggall and John Lawrence have provided me with quite a lot of shots of the mid-fifties. Thanks, too, to Malcom Pluck for a number of photos from Canberra days complete with the story behind them. Finally Dave Farquarson and Derek Smith have started me off with some photos covering the Squadron’s time with Phantoms.

As a reminder, the idea of the Centenary Project is to gather enough material in the way of personal recollections and reminiscences, and photographs to be able to put together a really good history of the Squadron in time for its Centenary in 2015. I know it seems a long time away, but time passes quickly - so do have a look through your photo albums and diaries and let me have anything which might be of interest.

I’m also looking into the possibility of getting a ‘moving history’ film by gathering film clips of Squadron activities. I’m hoping to get copies of the films at the RAF Museum which show the unit in the 1930s and some from the late ‘40s, and I know that there is a wealth of video footage from more recent times - but a plea to anyone who has any old cine-film footage to let me have a copy.

Finally, without wishing to sound too much like an anorak-wearing spotter, I’m trying to get together a list of every aeroplane operated by the Squadron with details of the aircraft’s loss if appropriate. I’m making surprisingly good progress at present, largely thanks to a lot of help from various enthusiasts who have shared their work with me. Once again, any help gratefully received!

Web Site

The Association website  has recently been updated, though I am very conscious that it needs much more work on it to update the photos and correct some errors. I’m hoping that our Webmeister, Dougie Roxburgh, and I will be able to get round to it soon.

That’s it, Folks!

Pete Crawshaw writes...

I was interested to read the article in the last newsletter by Tom Sharples who was attached to the Squadron a year after I left. One chap he mentioned was Banjo: if this was a Scottish gentleman I enclose a photo of him (above) taken at Jever about the middle of 1961. Alas not many photos were taken in those days although at that time cameras were very cheap. Tom also mentioned Flt Lt Carr-White; I remember that he and a Flt Lt Brooks were two gentlemen and it was a pleasure strapping them in as you could always have a chat with them - very approachable. They did not lose their patience on Battle Flight when there was a miss-fire and they had to wait for the Avpin to finish dripping before restarting. I am sure Tom remembers the sequence and having to get underneath the A/C to put the fire out with your boot! Oh happy days!

Big Guy, Little Guy!

Dave Farquarson writes...

I joined 14 Sqn in December 1973, and was there when it disbanded to be reformed with Jaguars in late 1975.

The 'Schloss' photo (Hohenzollern) below was taken during a very memorable RCAF exchange at Baden Soellingen. Most of us got a ride in a Starfighter and most of them flew in the back of an F4. The pic on the right was also taken on the RCAF exchange - the big guy was called Captain Davis and he was the equivalent of RAF Regiment, looking after ground-based air defence. This was his first ride in a combat aeroplane, and probably his last. He was hugely enthusiastic for the first 10 minutes, but then broke the record for throwing up!

The reason he flew with me was that I met him in the bar on the first night. The two of us were sat together talking, and the Boss (Derek Hine) seemed to think the contrast in sizes was hilarious, and that it would be a good wheeze to get us airborne together. Getting him kitted out was tricky - he was 6'8" tall and weighed more than 300 lbs. We borrowed a flying suit from the biggest chap on the squadron and squeezed him in the back, with the canopy just touching his head. The armourer assured us that Martin Baker would cope if it came to it, and off we went round Bavaria! It says a lot for the human factors design in the F4 that two such different specimens could operate it together.

Burg Hohenzollern

Report from 14 Squadron

This article was written by Flt Lt Bryn Jones last August (2006) to let us know what the Squadron had been up to in the preceding twelve months. Unfortunately Bryn and his colleagues have been called away to the Gulf for yet another operational tour before I could persuade him to bring us up to date with the rest of 2006, but I hope that he will be able to do so on his return and that I’ll be able to publish that update in the summer edition of the Newsletter.

The year 2005/06 has proved to be as varied as ever for the personnel of 14 Sqn. The successful 90th Anniversary celebrations led into a busy period. Over the summer, Wing Commander Colin Basnett was promoted and the Sqn hosted a detachment of Mig 21s from the Romanian Air Force. The autumn saw, Wing Commander Adrian Frost assuming command of the fighting 14. During October a number of crews deployed on exercise with 12 Sqn to Davis-Montham AB, Tucson, Arizona. The build up for our annual Gulf deployment continued throughout this period and 14 took over the UK commitment at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, for December and January.

The 2-month stint in the Gulf provided new experiences for both old and new members of the Sqn. Tasked in support of coalition forces, a typical sortie would last for approx 8 hrs. This could involve photoreconnaissance and Close Air Support (CAS) anywhere across Iraq. This would also involve air-to-air tanking from UK or US tankers. Whilst long and often mundane, there were short periods of high intensity that served to keep the crews on their toes. A 14 Sqn crew dropped a 1000lb bomb on Christmas Day - the first UK bomb dropped since 14’s last stint in the region! New Years Eve celebrations involved an American dog handling demonstration and an Australian Naval band. Apparently (I am reliably informed) it was quite an entertaining evening! New Year’s Day saw crews back on task happy to be the RAF’s main strike asset in ongoing Iraqi operations.

Refuelling from 101 Sqn VC10K3 (ZA148) whilst on task in the Gulf

Following our return from the Gulf in early February, personnel took the opportunity for some well-earned leave, before we were jetting off again - this time westbound! March and April saw the Sqn deploy to Hill AFB, Utah, USA for our annual heavy weapons detachment. The large Utah weapons range complex and relatively unrestricted airspace allows the delivery of weapons in the inventory (such as 1000lb & 2000lb laser guided bombs) that cannot be dropped within smaller UK ranges. This proved to be a very worthwhile detachment with some excellent training, especially for the younger Sqn members. The area also happens to have some of the best skiing in North America allowing Sqn personnel to experience the joys of downhill skiing! We then successfully brought 6 jets back to Lossiemouth via Bangor (Maine) and the Azores.

Recent commitments have seen the Sqn involved in numerous UK exercises, 2 visits to Gibraltar and 4 crews completing the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) based in Florennes, Belgium. In June 2006 we hosted 5 F/A-18E Super Hornets of the US Navy. This generated some valuable training missions, both with and against the F18s, and a reasonable amount of socialising - as they enjoyed everything Scotland had to offer!

Flying with USN F/A-18E Super Hornets

In the near future we are deploying to Cyprus for a fortnight in September and we have crews participating in a month long exercise in the United Arab Emirates in November. Further ahead, 2007 should see the Sqn returning to the Gulf as well as participating in numerous domestic and overseas exercises. The Sqn continues to thrive on the hard work of all members, particularly our engineers, who work all hours available to keep us in the air. Meanwhile, Eric (our Sqn Burmese python) is in fine form and keeps a watchful eye over us all and we continue to pride ourselves on the motto ‘We spread our wings and keep our promise.’

Holiday Snap from Downunder!

Snip Parsons has just returned from ‘8 glorious weeks’ on holiday in Australia. Just before leaving from Brisbane he took the opportunity to call in on Colin Campbell. Snip reports that Colin is in good health and sent this photo of the two of them together as evidence!

Colin served with the Squadron from 1943 to 1945, flying Marauders and Wellingtons; Snip flew Hunters with the Squadron between 1955 and 1958.

Of Ju88s and Motorbikes!

By Jim Hanson

Following neatly on from Ron Dawson’s account of his encounter with a Ju88 in the last issue, and just in case you were wondering about the story behind the photo on p157 of Winged Promises...

In November 1941 the Squadron moved to a new L G inland from Sidi Barrani. Our operations at this time were mainly on enemy troops and tanks. We were getting a number of enemy aircraft visiting us at night, obviously trying to locate our L.G and attack it - but they would always arrive above us on consecutive evenings at exactly 8 p.m. Our Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Buchanan decided that this was a bit much, so he contacted a fighter squadron stationed down in the Suez Canal area. Although fighter aircraft were in very short supply indeed in the Desert at that time, the squadron duly sent one Hurricane up to us to arrive at 8 p.m. That night, as expected, the JU 88 arrived above us at exactly at 8 p.m. - and the Hurricane promptly shot it down!

The aircrew had baled out and all but one of them were quickly rounded up. We were given orders to take our rifles, plus 5 rounds each, and go off in pairs in various directions to find the missing crew member. Myself and LAC Gordon Atkinson (Armourer) set off on our designated course, after about 30 minutes we found the missing crew member lying on the Desert. His parachute was still on, and he was stone dead. The point that occurred to me at the time of the event and ever since, is the way the German mind worked. Here was this JU 88 taking off from Crete at the exact time on 3 consecutive nights to the same target. Was it complete arrogance, or just plain stupidity?

Jim and Maurice go exploring!

As you will know 14 Squadron moved up and down the Desert, moving in and out of various locations as the advancing and retreating took place. January 1942 we were at Gambut, an airfield much used by the Luftwaffe and the Italians. In fact, in their haste to leave, the Germans had kindly left some motorbikes behind and a very good friend of mine, LAC Maurice Best (Flight Mechanic E), and myself ‘acquired’ one each. We often spent our off-duty time exploring the area around Gambut on our motorbikes. There is an escarpment running through the area, and on one particular occasion we found a quite well-hidden cave in the escarpment. We entered the cave and found that it had been used by a German Film Unit for working on films, probably propaganda films of German Forces in action on the Desert, and of British and Indian troops captured out in the Desert etc. We had a good rummage around the cave and left with a few bits and pieces. It was 2 or 3 days later that we heard the cave had been discovered by some other people, and the place exploded while they were in there. It was, of course, booby trapped. How lucky can you get?

On the way back we came across a knocked-out German tank, and in its locker we found sliced bread wrapped in foil, perfectly preserved: a luxury indeed. We never ever got bread on the Desert, only rock-hard biscuits. We also found 3 green cubes about 3 inches square - they were concentrated soup cubes. We handed these to the Cookhouse Tent, they made a considerable amount of soup with them. A small footnote here - food on the Desert was normally very grim, to say the least, and not much of it. For example, our menu for Christmas Day 1941 was cold tinned herring for breakfast at 7 a.m., and the last meal of the day was served at 2 p.m. and consisted of Bully Beef and biscuits, and you had to make sure you were at the Cookhouse Tent on time, or you got nothing!

... And more about Birds and Canberras

By Malcolm Pluck

I was Tony Gregory's first check ride after he completed the Canberra QFI course. He had been a creamed off QFI and 14 was his first and only Sqn tour. We set off with Martin Smith in the nav’s seat and after completing the upper air work I was doing the approach. After a long conversation with himself (in typical QFI fashion!) Tony decided he would talk me through doing a roller landing. You had to be specifically cleared to do rollers because of the 12 stage compressor and the tendency for the Avon engine to surge (stall).

I landed the T4 and Tony took over. Like a good QFI he was saying and then doing - This of course took a lot of time particularly as we were very slow. We also left the flaps in the down position (Up or down was the choice). We lifted off well down the runway and as Tony called for the gear and flaps to be raised, a large cloud of birds rose in front of us (they had been sunning themselves on the concrete at the far end of the runway - no one else had disturbed them all day until we came along with the QFI talk).

We suffered a number of strikes, particularly in the port engine and immediately had around 30 degrees of bank,very near the ground. Everything appeared to be happening very slowly Tony and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Tony: I don't think we are going very far like this [30 degrees of bank 15 ft off floor] Malcolm: Nope! The gear and flaps are still down!

Tony: Better put her back on the ground; Throttling back She is on the ground What is Max brake speed?

Malcolm: Why do you want to know? We have less than 100yds to the barrier!

Tony: Good point - on the brakes with me [Brakes were operated by a hand lever in the T4]

We called for the barrier - this was missed by ATC as we had had a radio fault and were using the standby 243.8

We hit the barrier at a fair speed and as you can see from the picture we did not ride over the bottom wire and the barrier caught us behind the canopy. We thought we had pulled the barrier out. Fortunately only one side had come away - See tyre tracks. I recall seeing a little blue VW travelling along the 221 road and thinking we were just about to spoil his day when the barrier pulled us to a stop. The bomb doors were open. The Airbrakes were out. This action by myself Cat3'd the A/C and a junior engineer remonstrated with me about my action. He was politely told his ancestry and invited to 'come fly with me ' at any time. He never did. I would have put my hand out of the window if I thought it would slow us down!

As we were leaving the AC Tony said that he was just about to call for us to eject. I said I had rotated the u/c button and was on the verge of pulling the u/c up so we better get and put the locks in. He then asked Martin, who said he would have had to have done his straps up and put his bone dome on before he could eject. This was not uncommon as you could not see the nav from the front. Martin had great faith in pilots - unfortunately he was killed in a Phantom in 1972.

Obituary - The Lord Deramore

Tony Bateson’s distinctive frame is easy to spot in this photograph of Ted Donovan’s Marauder crew.

The crew are, left to right: John Stuart, Paddy Reid, George Collins, Tony de Yarburgh Bateson, Dick Slatcher, Ted Donovan

[This photograph was kindly provided by Dick Slatcher whose name I managed to omit when I included it in the Marauder Special Issue last year - sorry, Dick!]

The Lord Deramore has died at the age of 95. Tony Bateson, as he was less formally known to his wartime contemporaries on 14 Squadron, will be warmly remembered both by his former comrades and also by those who knew him more recently. A slim, distinctive figure, who stood six feet six inches tall, he stood out from a crowd - though his wit and easy charm often meant that he was at the centre of one. Lord Deramore agreed to be the President of the 14 Squadron Association soon after it was founded in 1984 and was active in the role until he relinquished it in 2001 because, in his own words he was ‘past my sell by date’.

Richard Arthur de Yarburgh-Bateson was born in London on 9th April 1911, the younger son of the 4th Lord Deramore. He was brought up in the family home at Heslington Hall near Pickering and educated at Harrow and St John’s College Cambridge. His career as an architect was interrupted by the outbreak of war, and he volunteered to join the RAF VR in June 1940. He was sent to South Africa and Kenya where he trained as a navigator on Blenheim bombers before being posted to 14 Squadron in the Western Desert in 1942. He remained with 14 Squadron for the next three years, flying 352 operational hours in Blenheims, Marauders and Wellingtons. Throughout his time with 14 Squadron he enjoyed a reputation as an extremely capable navigator who was able to remain calm even in the most difficult circumstances.

After the war he resumed his career as an architect with Hertfordshire County Council and later in private practice. In 1964 he inherited the family title on the death of his brother Stephen and seven years later moved back to his roots in Yorkshire.

The family home at Heslington Hall had long been sold - it served as HQ 4 Group RAF during the war and then became (and still is) part of York University - so Deramore bought an orchard in nearby Aislaby and built his own house. He was active in the local community, particularly the school, and also supported wider educational and medical causes in Yorkshire. Throughout his life Lord Deramore was a keen cyclist and enthusiastic motorist. He once held the record for the longest distance cycled in a single day - the 149 miles between York and Cambridge. He remained an active cyclist until well into his eighties and he was a familiar sight astride his racing bike in the roads around Aislaby. However his real passion was for cars and he took part in many hill and speed trials including the Paris-to-Nice Trial which he entered three times in a HRG sports car, winning the event on one occasion. In his seventies he owned a Ford XR3 and remarked one day to the local vicar that he found the Malton bypass became a little rough above 110 mph!

Lord Deramore was also a talented artist and was President of the Pickering Art Club between 1979 and 1997. His watercolours and sketches were complemented by his service and civil cartoons which reflected his self-deprecating humour. An accomplished writer, he won a Daily Telegraph short story competition in 1975, and had an erotic novel published at the age of 80! 14 Squadron Association members, however, will remember him for his being one of the co-authors and driving forces behind the publication of the Squadron’s 1915 to 1945 history Winged Promises.

Lord Deramore died in August and is survived by his wife Janet and their daughter Ann. At his funeral the 14 Squadron Association was represented by our President AV-M Deryck Stapleton and Vice President Air Commodore Tim Anderson. 14 Squadron mounted a memorial flypast by two Tornado aircraft.