ACA Woking News by Paul Holden, PRO

15 February 2005


Tony Rest during his Aden tour
Tony Rest

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 remarkable condition.

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 !

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