15 February 2005
THE BEVERLEY IN ADEN
Tony Rest during his Aden tour
Tony Rest, a member of the Woking Branch, gave a most interesting talk at the
February meeting on his time during the 60s flying the Blackburn Beverley. At
that time it was the largest aircraft being flown by the RAF.
Beverley taking off for Assab
During his time at Hull University he joined the Air Squadron and flew
Chipmunks. On joining the RAF he trained on Jet Provosts, Vampires and Varsity
aircraft before converting onto the four-engine Blackburn Beverley. Shutting
down and feathering the propeller (airscrew) of one of the four engines was all
part of the training, occasionally with strange results. Para dropping was part
of life on 47 Squadron dropping loads of up to 35,000lbs or even the "RED
DEVILS" RAF freefall display team from 12,000ft.
Trips to North Africa included taking the "Desert Rescue Team" to Kufra Oasis
in the Sahara desert, some 400 miles south of Tubruq. On the return he flew
over the crash site of "Lady-be-Good" an American Liberator that crashed
after a bombing raid over Italy during WW11; the dry air keeping it in
Illustrations projected on the Branch screen were particularly impressive when
he was posted to Aden, especially the aerial views of the town of Aden, the Red
Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Pictures showing the landing of such a large aircraft
on short runways 4,500ft high with 7,000ft mountains at the end, were amazing.
A cargo of goats
To give a better understanding of the operations, he also showed photographs
including the loads carried in support of the Hadhrami Bedouin Legion. There
were legionnaires with impressive kukra knives and vintage guns with their
baggage including tins of ghee (clarified butter) and live goats tied up in
sacks, just their heads sticking out, to stop them running about in flight. You
try and catch a goat running loose in the freight bay at 10,000ft !
Back to top of page