Photographs & Stories - Pete Pingram
I was an MOD craftsman at Boscombe Down from 1968-82 on B Sqn and one of our aircraft was XB261, the cabin of which now resides at Newark. I enjoyed working the aircraft during that time unlike the first meeting I had with the Bev.
In 1958/59 I was also at Boscombe Down on C Sqdn which was manned by serving Fleet Air Arm Servicemen of which I was one. The FAA as you know only dealt with little aircraft so it came as a great surprise to me one day when my Chief sent me off with a couple of RAF chaps to show me round my new aircraft, a Beverley. I was an Electrical, Autopilot and Instrument tradesman and these 2 chaps had an afternoon to give me the Gen and I was then supposed to be able to sign for servicing the aircraft. After a trip down the inside of the wing for something which escapes me now then sitting in the Pilots Armchair in that great expanse of cockpit I found it all a bit too BIG. I scurried back to the safety of the Sea Vixens ejection seats, a place I was at home with, the RAF did the servicing. So what was a Beverly doing in the Navy. RATOG. I suppose, because the Navy used RATOG they thought that's where the Bev ought to go for a RATOG trial.
Please don’t quote me on the following but I think that I can remember eight rockets a side being fitted. The rockets were fitted around half way up the back end of the freight bay, eight either side with the Clam shells removed. They did one trial with all 16 rockets firing then eight on just the Starboard side then eight on the port. There could have been more trial firings than this but thats all I can remember. For the trial they sat on the runway, run the engines up to full power, off brakes then when the aircraft was rolling fired the rockets, it certainly seemed to help the aircraft get airborne. I think the aircraft could have been XB259. Can anyone confirm this?