Q&A with Battle of Britain veteran Group Captain Sir Hugh “Cocky” Dundas

In the second of the RAF Centre for Air Power Studies rarely-seen before historic ‘leadership’ themed videos, Battle of Britain legend Group Captain Sir Hugh ‘Cocky’ Dundas CBE DSO* DFC presents his thoughts on ‘Leadership in War’ followed by an informal question and answer session at an after-dinner speech given circa 1991 at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell.

Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force as an acting-pilot officer in 1938 before being called up to active service upon the outbreak of the Second World War. Initially he served on 616 Squadron flying Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Is during the Battle of Britain fighting ‘hard and fiercely’ throughout. He went on to serve as a squadron commander and then subsequently as wing leader and had, by 1944, become one of the youngest Group Captains in the RAF at the age of just 24. In combat against the enemy he is credited with four aircraft destroyed while having shared in the destruction of another six as well as two probables.

He left the RAF in 1947 to pursue a successful career in the media. He has also published an autobiography, Flying Start: A Fighter Pilot’s War Years, describing his wartime experiences in great detail. In 1969 he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey and in 1989 High Sheriff. Dundas married Enid Rosamond Lawrence in 1950 and together they had a son and two daughters.

Sir Hugh Dundas passed away on July 10th 1995.

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News Round-Up – October 16th 2017

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Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

Britons who fight for Islamic State make themselves a ‘legitimate target’, says Michael Fallon
(Sky News)

Ministers try to push through plans for £100m royal yacht as EU talks remain deadlocked
(The Independent)

BAE Systems to axe 1915 jobs in UK
(Airforce Technology)

America’s Most Powerful Fighter Jet Ever Is Headed to Europe
(The National Interest Online)

PM’s former security adviser warns of Brexit defence cuts
(The Guardian)

Prince Harry presents South Central Ambulance Trust with Ministry of Defence award
(Basingstoke Gazette)


British Army News

Ex-British Army soldier made rucksack bomb threat hours after London Bridge terror attacks
(International Business Times UK)

Take foreign aid money to pay UK army for £50m hurricane relief effort, urges ex-army head
(Express)

British Army Chief acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism
(Radio Pakistan)

Museum funding crisis puts Rorke’s Drift memories at risk
(The Times)

What Northern Ireland’s past reveals about soldiers with mixed allegiances
(The Conversation UK)

WATCH: British Army Terrier rips up quad bike!
(Forces Network)


Royal Air Force News

British RAF’s Typhoon jets conduct longest sortie in fight against ISIS
(Airforce Technology)

A memorial has been unveiled to a Hurricane fighter pilot who crashed near Sevenoaks
(Kent Live)

Jets flown by RAF Red Arrows will be built overseas unless government steps in, warn 142 MPs 
(Daily Mail)

RAF jets scrambled as ‘aircraft vanishes from radar’ over English Channel
(Daily Star)

Ministry of Defence explains reason behind ‘annoyingly loud’ planes over Hull
(Hull Daily Mail)

RAF military working dog trials 2017
(Forces Network)

Aircraft touch down at RAF Brize Norton after mission to Caribbean
(Oxford Mail)

Exhibition on Czechoslovak RAF pilots opens in Brno
(Prague Daily Monitor)

RAF Benson squadron receives top honour from the Queen for service in Iraq
(Oxford Mail)


Royal Navy & Marines News

The plan to save Plymouth’s naval base and Royal Marines
(Plymouth Herald)

Royal Navy bomb disposal divers save tanker packed with 1000 tons of fuel
(Daily Mail)

Royal Navy shoots missiles down off Scottish coast
(The Scotsman)

UK MoD amends MSDF contract with BAE Systems
(Naval Technology)

Britain’s Royal Navy rushes out HMS Tyne to patrol fishing waters and scare off EU ships
(The Sun)

Hard Questions for the Future of the Royal Navy
(The Maritime Executive)

Council will have links with new Royal Navy boat which is tackling piracy
(Nottingham Post)

Thales to provide communications systems support for British Royal Navy fleet
(Naval Technology)

Farewell to Newport’s Royal Navy ship – HMS Severn
(South Wales Argus)

Army ‘gender general’ upset as Royal Marines fail to attend gay rights event
(The Sun)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

News Round-Up – October 4th 2017

RAF RC-135

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

The UK must rebuild its military power, general tells the PM: Former top brass says
(Daily Mail)

EU mission struggling in Libya, internal report says
(EUobserver)


British Army News

British Troops Help Treat Wounded At Mass Shooting In Las Vegas
(Forces Network)

Foxhound armoured vehicles can’t stand the heat, claims army source
(The Times)

Army has new fight on its hands as it battles obesity
(Express)

Armed soldiers in camouflage storm British shopping centre in late night ‘mission’
(Mirror)

Former Gurkha “Drowned In His Own Blood” After NHS Staff Said He Was “Asleep”
(Forces Network)

Wounded Maidstone veteran to climb Mount Everest to raise money for Royal British Legion
(Kent News)

SAS launch mission to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden’s son in Syria before he can copy his father
(Daily Mail)

‘It’s a vendetta’ Hero veteran who fought ISIS investigated by MoD for fraud
(Express)

Demons are winning’: Heartbreaking last letter of traumatised soldier who killed himself
(Mirror)


Royal Air Force News

RAF jets intercept flight after security ‘hoax’
(BBC)

RAF receives final RC-135V/W Rivet Joint
(Shephard Media)

BBMF set to fly to Lancaster crash site in Netherlands
(LincolnshireLive)

Two RAF corporals set to cycle 1600 miles in two weeks to visit football grounds in aid of charities
(Daily Echo)

Qatar Airways A350 in amazing formation flight with Red Arrows
(Gulf Times)

RAF asked Welsh hopeful to pass an English test despite his GCSE
(BBC News)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Sir Michael Fallon defends nuclear deterrent amid heightened North Korea threat
(Yahoo News UK)

Royal Navy submarine commander removed over claim of ‘inappropriate relationship’ with female officer
(Telegraph)

Britain readies for war with biggest navy drill as 35 warships swoop on UK coast
(Daily Star)

North Atlantic Council visits UK strategic nuclear forces
(NATO HQ)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

 

Interview with Wing Commander Roland Prosper Beamont

In this interview, Wing Commander Roland Prosper “Bee” Beamont, CBE, DSO*, DFC* talks about his experiences during the Second World War with Group Captain (Retd) J P (Phil) Dacre MBE DL RAF at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell in April 1991.

Wing Commander Beamont served as a fighter pilot with Fighter Command from the start of the War until he was shot down and captured in October 1944 on his 492nd operational mission. After the War, Wing Commander Beamont went on to become a leading test pilot on aircraft such as the Meteor, Vampire, Canberra, Lightning and even the ill-fated TSR.2 as well as writing several books. He passed away just over ten years after this interview on November 19th 2001.

News Round-Up – September 20th 2017

RFA_Argus-2

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

We’ll end up with a ‘Third World’ military, former head of the Navy warns
(Plymouth Herald)

BAE’s Typhoon must navigate Gulf diplomacy
(Financial Times)

Up to 70 new jobs at Broughton as MoD strike deal on surveillance plane upgrade
(Deeside)

Stunning images of American Spitfires donated by the RAF
(Daily Mail)


British Army News

British Army’s AJAX in final stages of testing
(Forces Network)

Thousands of troops will have their wages cut by £352 next year, shocking new figures reveal
(Mirror)

Narrow win puts Army in pole position for inter-services title
(Forces Network)

British Army bike stunt team disbands after 90 Years
(RideApart)

Statues honour former Devon and Dorset Army regiments
(BBC News)

British army veterans march on Westminster in support of former soldier facing prosecution in connection with death of a vulnerable man during the Troubles
(Irish News)


Royal Air Force News

Hercules refuels in Bermuda
(The Royal Gazette)

Facebook blasted for banning RAF’s charity disability campaign while allowing ISIS beheading
(The Sun)

RAF re-open radar base on Britain’s most northerly island
(Yorkshire Post)

RAF helicopter crash in Kabul ‘partly caused by surveillance balloon’
(The Guardian)

23 photos of RAF Mildenhall to celebrate The United States Air Force’s 70th birthday
(Norfolk Eastern Daily Press)

Air Cadets honour Second World War Royal Air Force pilots
(Grand River Sachem)


Royal Navy & Marines News

US Navy research chief urges caution as British Admirals begin dash for autonomy
(USNI News)

Royal Navy ‘can only send a quarter of its warships to sea after Armed Forces budget cuts’
(Daily Mail)

Lockheed Martin and Elbit Systems to partner for British Royal Navy’s MEWP project
(Naval Technology)

Royal Navy to discuss developing effective maritime cyber security standards
(EIN News)

Royal Navy historic plane returns to Somerset three years after crash-landing at a show
(BBC News)

Those magnificent men: Fascinating pictures show how Royal Navy officers first took to the skies
(Daily Mail)

Daughter of Royal Navy POW launches emotional search for Japanese boy who helped him
(Telegraph)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

Forgotten Aircraft: Avro’s First Bombers (Part 3)

<Avro’s First Bombers (Part 1)
<Avro’s First Bombers (Part 2)

The Avro 557 AvaAvro 557 Ava N171

World War I had completely changed the world’s perspective on the aeroplane as a weapon of war. Whereas before it was seen as little more than a tool for reconnaissance, now it was directly challenging age-old beliefs about the superiority of armies and navies. Nevertheless, the Royal Air Force (RAF) was still fighting for its continued existence and in order to prove its worth it had to show that it had the potential to truly affect the future battlefield. For Chief of the Air Staff, Lord Hugh Trenchard this was no easy feat as the RAF was constantly strapped for cash in the face of peacetime cuts.

Both the Army and Navy lobbied for abolishment of the RAF now that the war was over and to have their respective air arms reinstated but Trenchard and his political supporters put up a staunch defence. In order to prove the RAF’s worth, Trenchard was careful but ambitious about his service’s reequipment program in the 1920s hoping to make the most out of what little he had. One such role he envisioned the RAF undertaking was the defence of Britain against surface warships using air launched torpedoes. During the war, Britain had suffered humiliating attacks by German battleships which shelled coastal towns like Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby and those who supported the RAF believed that aircraft could prevent further attacks using both speed and firepower to intercept the raiders out at sea. Trenchard went further adding that in his opinion, combat aircraft had the potential to render the battleship entirely obsolete.

In 1922, the Air Ministry issued specification 16/22 aimed at acquiring an aircraft to fulfil the challenging role. Like the specification that produced the Avro Aldershot which was at that time undergoing flight testing, it was conceived around a possible war breaking out with France which was now the only real European superpower able to threaten Britain with Germany being crushed by the Treaty of Versailles and Austro-Hungary having broken up. The specification called for an aircraft capable of carrying a 21-inch (533mm) torpedo to a target around 500 miles from its base allowing it to attack shipping as far as Denmark and the entrance to the Baltic Sea. This was no easy feat since the 21-inch torpedo was over 3,000lbs in weight but Trenchard believed this weapon was the bare minimum needed to sink a battleship. To increase the type’s usefulness, the specification also stipulated that the aircraft was to be used as a bomber and carry the equivalent weight in bombs.

Avro and Blackburn Aircraft were both shortlisted to produce prototypes for testing with Avro’s project being led by the talented Roy Chadwick. Both companies had to work under a strict veil of secrecy however since at that time there were calls for world-wide disarmament and it was believed by some that an aircraft capable of sinking a battleship might be perceived as contrary to this. Initially, Chadwick opted for a single engined design centred around the 1,000hp Napier Cub engine which Avro had been testing on the original Avro Aldershot prototype. Blackburn adopted the same engine for their design but eventually Chadwick dropped it in favour of producing a twin engined design equipped with individually less powerful engines that combined produced even more power; something the Air Ministry was looking more favourably upon.

Chadwick’s design was for a three-bay biplane of wooden construction with a biplane tail that had a triple rudder arrangement. The two uncowled engines were mounted close to the fuselage but forward of the main wing resting on pylons that extended down to their relative undercarriage. Chadwick settled on the Rolls Royce Condor III V12 engine which churned out 650hp to power the type. The aircraft was to have a crew of five with two pilots sat in an open cockpit located at the top of the forward fuselage slightly ahead of the propellers. The navigator/bomb aimer worked in the enclosed cabin during the flight but could occupy a “dustbin” gun turret that retracted down from beneath the aircraft when it was under attack. The aircraft also had two dedicated gunners with one located in the extreme nose and the other in a dorsal position behind the wings. Each gunner was equipped with a single .303in Lewis machine gun.  The main offensive armament was carried on racks underneath the fuselage between the two innermost undercarriage wheels.

Avro 557 Ava (1)

The first prototype of the new aircraft was completed in 1924 and given the in-house number 557 and the serial number N171 before the name “Ava” was assigned to it. The origin of the name is unclear but it is likely a derivative of the Latin word “Avis” which means “bird”. Avro test pilot Bert Winkler was at the controls during the type’s first flight and being a man of rather short stature, he had to be propped up in the seat with a few cushions to allow him to see forward over the nose. Not long in to the test program, the central rudder was removed as it was deemed unnecessary. Work also began on a second prototype, N172, which was to be of all-metal construction reflecting this growing trend amongst aircraft manufacturers.

Meanwhile, Blackburn Aircraft had begun test flying their own aircraft to meet the Air Ministry’s specifications known as the Cubaroo – a name likely inspired by its powerful Napier Cub engine. Despite the Air Ministry emphasizing a preference for a twin-engined design, Blackburn submitted their single-engined Cubaroo which was at that time the largest single-engined military aircraft in the world. Despite this fact, flight trials showed that it had good flight characteristics although Blackburn would suffer a temporary setback when the prototype crash landed in January 1925.

As work on both aircraft continued, the grey clouds of cancellation began to form over their respective aerodromes. Naval observers of the project argued that these relatively large and lumbering aircraft would offer an easy target to the newer anti-aircraft guns being fielded aboard surface warships around the world. They also argued that they would be vulnerable to interception by modern carrier aircraft equivalent to the Royal Navy’s Fairey Flycatcher which was significantly faster than either the Ava or the Cubaroo when carrying their torpedo.

Avro 557 Ava N172In 1924, the Fleet Air Arm was formed within the RAF to handle shipboard operations and this new branch argued for smaller torpedo-carrying carrier aircraft to fulfil essentially the same role as was envisioned for the Ava and Cubaroo. These aircraft would be equipped with the 1,800lb Mark.VIII torpedo so could be smaller, faster and tougher to shoot down with defensive fire. The Air Ministry agreed and had rescinded specification 16/22 by 1926 rendering both the Ava and the Cubaroo surplus to requirements. With the veil of secrecy having been lifted, Avro demonstrated N171 during the 1926 Hendon Air Pageant while at the same time continued work on the second prototype which would not be completed until 1927, flying for the first time on April 22nd. In terms of design, the only difference between the two prototypes was that the second prototype had more rectangular shaped wing tips than the first prototype.

Avro quickly began scouring the Air Ministry’s order books for a requirement that the all-metal Ava could possibly fulfil and settled on the recently issued B19/27 which was designed to produce a replacement for the Vickers Virginia and Handley Page Hinaidi bombers. With some more development, the Ava could just about squeeze in to this requirement which demanded a night bomber capable of carrying a 1,500lb bombload, 920 miles from its base at an average speed of 115mph. However, Avro faced stiff competition from Bristol, Fairey, Handley Page and Vickers all of whom were working on newer designs with Fairey even offering up a new monoplane design in the shape of the Fairey Hendon. The Air Ministry weren’t interested and the Ava joined the list of Avro’s failed attempts to produce an operational bomber.

SPECIFICATIONS

Crew: 5
Length: 58 ft 3 in (17.75 m)
Wingspan: 96 ft 10 in (29.51 m)
Height: 19 ft 7¾ in (5.99 m)
Empty weight: 12,760 lb (5,788 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 19,920 lb (9,036 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Condor III water cooled V-12, 650 hp (485 kW) each
Maximum speed: 115 mph [3] (100 kn, 185 km/h)
Armament;
3 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Guns (Nose, dorsal and retractable ventral positions)
1 × 21 in (553 mm) torpedo or 4 × 550 lb (250 kg) bombs

News Round-Up – August 6th 2017

Viking amphibious vehicle royal navy marines


General News

It’s Time To Stop Stigmatising Muslim Recruits to Army
(HuffPost UK)

Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly has read this grim British WWI novel after every promotion since age 25
(Business Insider)

NATO helps Iraq boost civil-military cooperation in dealing with terrorist challenges
(NATO HQ press release)

New Care Home For Veterans In High Wycombe
(Forces Network)


British Army News

Down GAA to use former British army base as new training centre
(Irish Times)

‘Lessons to be learnt’ over cadets’ rescue – MoD
(ITV News)

Rescued Army cadets “British terrorists in training”, claims republican group
(Belfast Newsletter)

British Army’s White Helmets to disband after 90 years
(Country Life)

UK soldier arrested after fatal car crash at Cyprus base
(BBC News)

Gay SAS soldier claims he suffered anti-gay discrimination
(Attitude Magazine)

‘Whistleblowing’ GP loses legal fight after MOD sacking
(BBC News)


Royal Air Force News

Top RAF test pilot died after ‘series of failings’
(The Guardian)

RAF Sentinel Aircraft Helped In Recapture Of Mosul From Daesh
(Defenseworld)

RAF Valley move Hawks to Llanbedr Airfield
(Aviation Wales)

Historic WW1 plane is restored after 100 years
(WTVY, Dothan)

RAF Regiment training at US airport
(Columbia Basin Herald)

RAF to blow £8m on 100th birthday celebrations despite warnings about lack of staff and £20bn MoD black hole
(The Sun)

RAF weighs training balance as new fleet nears use
(Flightglobal)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Portsmouth Naval Base Improvements Start
(Heart)

British Royal Navy’s HMS Montrose completes machinery and weapons trials
(Naval Technology)

Terrorist who infiltrated Royal Marines and built bombs for dissident Irish Republicans jailed for 18 years
(Mail Online)

Two Royal Navy Sea King Mk5 helicopters are set to be redeployed and will be based on Portland
(Dorset Echo)

Rising tensions in Helensburgh’s cold war with neighbouring Faslane naval base
(Herald Scotland)

Steam Tug Celebrates 90th Birthday With Royal Navy Salute
(Forces Network)

UK MoD awards new Royal Navy contracts to Babcock and BAE Systems
(Naval Technology)

Prince Philip retires: Queen Elizabeth’s husband bows out of public life
(ABC Online)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.