Monday, 28 November 2011

Javelin sortie RAF Coltishall 1962

From the University of East Anglia film archive, an Anglia Television programme showing life behind-the-scenes at RAF Coltishall. In the lead-up to the 1962 open day to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Anglia Television correspondent Christopher Rainbow heads to RAF Coltishall to see some of the aircraft on show and visit some of the less accessible areas of the base. Looking behind the scenes at what keeps three squadrons in the air, Rainbow speaks to the commanding officer Group Captain Malins and visits the radar workshop, armoury, guided weapons facility, control tower and fire service. Footage includes a very interesting sequence showing armourers loading Firestreak missiles onto the under wing pylons of Javelin XH 962 prior to the aircraft taxying out and getting airborne. Crowds are shown enjoying the open day, with static aircraft displays in the hangars and flying displays from Spitfire, Hurricane, Javelin, Vulcan and Lightning aircraft.

The Javelin of course features quite prominently in James Hamilton-Paterson's "Empire of the clouds "; in fact Paterson's book is almost a sympathetic biography of Bill Waterton, Gloster and Javelin test pilot. Like many post-war British designs the Javelin was assessed as a complete dud by its pilots. From a recent post on the Flypast forum;

" ..Today I met a Javelin pilot and commiserated with him. Quite so, he said. We read up on Kamikazes and despaired. They had half a chance of doing some good. We knew we had none. Yet, largely US-funded, we deployed 428 Harmonious Dragmasters. Useless. There was no golden yesteryear.."

Ground crew load Firestreak missiles on to a Gloster Javelin FAW.9 of No 64 Squadron RAF at RAF Tengah.

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