Buccaneer Strike Force
Print Number 1/10
Overall size 28” x 20”
by Philip E. West
The Blackburn Buccaneer, in its heyday the worlds most advanced low-level, high-speed strike aircraft.
The Buccaneer is remembered with affection and respect as a purposeful-looking, rock-steady aircraft offering a formidable strike weapons platform, flying low and fast over the wave-tops or land with equal effectiveness, on this occasion in the presence of HMS Ark Royal.
Presentation Print 10 in this Edition £225.00
Print Number 1/10
All are signed and numbered by the artist plus 11 Buccaneer pilots and Observers.
Captain Michael C Clapp CB joined the Royal Navy in 1950 from Marlborough College. As a midshipman, he served in the Far East during the Korean campaign. In 1954 he was boarding officer capturing a caique running guns into Cyprus. In 1955, he was appointed to No. 1 Long Observer Course, expecting to specialise in anti-submarine warfare. His first operational flying tour was, however, with 849 Airborne Early Warning Squadron. In 1959, after a series of flying courses, he was posted to Ferranti Ltd to assist in test flying the weapon system for the Buccaneer Mk 1 finally joining 700 Z Flight, the Intensive Flying Trials Unit.
In 1962, he was the Senior Observer of 801 Squadron, then the first operational Mk 1 Buccaneer squadron. They embarked in HMS Ark Royal and Victorious and sailed for the Far East and tropical trials returning home in January 1964. He returned to the Far East to command HMS Puncheston, a Minesweeper, during Indonesian Confrontation when he was mentioned in despatches.
In late 1965 he took command of 801 Squadron now equipped with the Buccaneer Mk 2. The Squadron once again embarked in HMS Victorious and sailed for the Far East and tropical trials.
After a brief stay at the Joint Warfare Establishment, he had two ship commands, HMS Jaguar and HMS Leander. He also completed two tours in the Naval Staff of the MOD and one as the executive officer of HMS Norfolk completing Exocet trials at Toulon. Later he was the Naval Director of the Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff.
In 1981 he was appointed Commodore Amphibious Warfare and commanded the landings and inshore operations in the Falklands conflict in 1982 for which he was made a CB.
He retired in 1983 to Devon where he became a stockbroker and lives with his wife. They have three children. On final retirement he sailed to the Caribbean and back in his 28 ft yacht.
Lieutenant Commander Paul A J Collins joined the Royal Navy in 1964 and as a midshipman served in HMS EAGLE in the Far East in 1966. He qualified as an observer at RNAS Lossiemouth in 1969 and joined 800 NAS flying in Buccaneer Mk 2 embarked in HMS EAGLE 1970-71. HMS EAGLE was deployed to the Mediterranean and to the Far East during this period.
Immediately after returning to the UK he flew to New York to join 809 NAS embarked in HMS ARK ROYAL and served throughout 1972 embarked and at RAF Honington. After a further year at Honington he converted to ASW helicopters and served with 826 NAS embarked in HMS TIGER and HMS HERMES. On completion of the US Navy Staff Course in 1976 he joined 700 Lynx Intensive Flying Trials Unit for the introduction of the Lynx HAS 2 to operational service and subsequently became the flight commander of Phoebe Flight embarked in HMS PHOEBE.
He was Operations Officer at RNAS Yeovilton 1979-81 and during this time flew in the Royal Naval Historic Flight for two display seasons in the Fairy Firefly and Swordfish. He was then the Operations Officer of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS during build and on commissioning 1982-1984. He was on the staff of Flag Officer 3rd Flotilla as Staff Plans Officer 1984-86 and embarked in HM Ships INVINCIBLE and ARK ROYAL [new] during this period. He left the RN in 1988 after 2 years on the staff of Commander British Forces Hong Kong. Paul then joined the Army as a Major in the RAPC serving in Germany with 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and HQ 1st Armoured Division, RPO Exeter and HQ 49[East] Brigade in Nottingham. He retired in 2000 and now lives on Dartmoor.
Lieutenant Commander M J Callaghan joined the RN in 1966. Mike qualified as a Buccaneer Observer in 1968 and served in 800 Squadron (HMS EAGLE) and completed three tours with 809 Squadron (HMS ARK ROYAL). He also served as an instructor on 736 Squadron (Buccaneer OFT) at RNAS Lossiemouth and with 237 OCU (the RAF Buccaneer Operational Conversion Unit) at RAF Honington.
After the final commission in HMS ARK ROYAL, Mike joined the staff of the Sea Harrier Intensive Flying Trials Unit (IFTU) at RNAS Yeovilton in 1979, which introduced the aircraft into RN service. When the IFTU became the HQ Squadron (899), Mike remained on the staff as an instructor to assist in the training of the pilots for the first frontline squadrons.
In 1981, he was appointed to the staff of HQ 3 Commando Brigade RM as the Brigade Aviation Officer. Barely having completed his Arctic Warfare Training in Norway in 1982, he deployed with the Brigade to the Falklands, embarked in HMS FEARLESS. As part of the planning team for the amphibious assault, he had a key role in co-ordinating the offensive air, helicopter support and fire support aspects of the campaign. He even waded ashore from a landing craft in San Carlos!
In 1984, Mike was appointed to the NATO HQ in Oslo, Norway (HQ AFNORTH). Returning to UK in 1986, he became the Operations Officer, RNAS Yeovilton, His final RN appointment in 1989 was as a member of the Directing Staff at the Maritime Tactical School, with responsibilities for Sea Harrier and carrier operations.
On retiring from the RN in 1991, Mike joined British Aerospace (now BAE SYSTEMS) and has been involved in a number of programmes including the Future Aircraft Carrier. He is now based in Bristol and lives in Bath with his wife and daughter.
Lieutenant Commander Frank Cox RN joined the Fleet Air Arm in 1962 directly from school having received a nautical education and been involved in gliding from a very early age. He evaded attempts to divert him into becoming a fulltime ‘Fishhead’ career officer and remained on a short service commission in aviation where his heart lay.
On completion of training in 1965 Frank served in 800 Squadron flying Mk. 1 Buccaneers from HMS Eagle. In 1967 he joined 738 Squadron flying Hunters as a Tactical Instructor. Having completed the Air Warfare Instructor’s course he returned to 738 as an AWI where he also flew as a member of the ‘Diamonds’ Aerobatic team. In 1967 he returned to the Buccaneer world flying Mk. 2’s in 809 Squadron from Lossiemouth and HMS Ark Royal. He joined the staff of 764 Squadron (AWI School) in 1971 and in 1972 commenced an appointment as a staff AWI on 237 Buccaneer OCU at RAF Honington. Thence, in 1974, followed an exchange tour with the US Navy instructing students in the art of weaponary without the assistance of computer wizardry on the A6 Intruder at NAS Oceana. He returned to 809 Squadron in 1976 and became Senior Pilot in 1977 until the Squadron was disbanded in December 1978. A sojourn at RAF (Ex RNAS) Brawdy until 1981 as Senior Naval Officer overseeing Naval Students through their advanced training on Hawk aircraft led to his final appointment with the Naval Flying Standards Flight at Yeovilton as the AWI where he also flew the Firefly and the Seafury for the Naval Historic Flight displays.
Having completed his naval service in 1983 Frank continued to fly Hunters until 1985 for Airwork Ltd. and subsequently Flight Refueling Ltd. Since then he has been flying Corporate jets worldwide for various private owners. He has his own ‘Flight Deck’ in North Devon where he flies and restores vintage and classic aircraft.
Lieutenant Commander J E Eatwell RN joined the Royal Navy as an Air Cadet in 1956 and went straight to sea in HMS Theseus, part of the Home Fleet Training Squadron. He commenced Observer training in September 1956 flying Sea Prince, Firefly, Gannet, Brigand and Sea Venom aircraft, before embarking with 894 Sea Venom Squadron in HMS Eagle in 1958. He received training at De Havilland for the Sea Vixen and embarked on HMS Ark Royal with 892 Squadron, the first Sea Vixen Squadron in 1960, transferring to HMS Victorious for a deployment to the Far East.
After a tour with 899 Headquarters Squadron, he transferred to the Buccaneer S Mk 1 in 1963 and then received training as a Photographic Interpreter (PI) prior to joining 800 squadron in HMS Eagle as a Photo Recce Specialist. This was followed by a tour instructing in 736 Squadron before rejoining 800 Squadron with the Mk 2 Buccaneer for another embarked tour in HMS Eagle covering the withdrawal from Aden.
Further appointments at Lossiemouth as Station Intelligence Officer and P I to Flag Officer Aircraft Carriers, Operations Staff in HMS Eagle and as a Trials Officer at RAE Farnborough followed. His final four years were spent at the Joint School of Photographic Interpretation, responsible for the selection and training of all RN. WRNS and RNR PIs. He retired from the RN in 1976 but remained active as a PI and Intelligence Officer in the RNR, finally retiring in 1993.
Captain E M Hackett FCMI MNI RN joined the Royal Navy in 1961 from Dauntseys School and served in HM Ships URCHIN and DUCHESS under training, before joining the minesweeper PUNCHESTON (Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Mike Clapp!) in the Far East Fleet during the Confrontation against Indonesia. He began flying training in 1966 and qualified as a Buccaneer pilot in 1968 after which he joined 801 NAS in HERMES for his first deck landing off Singapore. He was Flag Lieutenant to the Flag Officer Naval Air Command between 1970 and 1972 flying Sea Devons and the Hawker Hunter. He then joined 809 NAS in ARK ROYAL after completing the Air Warfare Instructor’s Course at RNAS Lossiemouth. He completed the Naval Staff Course and was Senior Pilot of 809 from 1974 to
1977, again in ARK ROYAL.
His first Sea Command was HMS RHYL 1978-80 operating in the West Indies. This was followed by his first appointment to the MoD between 1980-82 as the Sea Harrier and Air Weapons Desk Officer in the Directorate of Naval Air Warfare. Between 1982-1984 he was the first Commander (Air) of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and flew the Harrier T4 and Gazelle and Sea King helicopters. This was immediately followed by being Staff Aviation Officer to Flag Officer Third Flotilla, Portsmouth 1984-85. On being promoted to Captain in 1985 he was appointed to command HMS ROOKE and be Chief of Staff to the Flag Officer Gibraltar. From there he commissioned the new HMS COVENTRY and between 1988-90 took her to the Arctic, Baltic, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and the Far East. Between 1990-92 he was Deputy Director Naval Warfare (Air), which encompassed the first Gulf War, and Adviser on Aircraft Accidents to the Navy Board. His final appointment in the Service was as Captain of the Port, Queen’s Harbour Master and Chief Staff Officer to the Flag Officer Portsmouth from 1992 to 1994, after which he retired from the Active List.
He is presently occupied as a consultant to OCTO Ltd where he advises, teaches and assesses senior managers on fast decision making under stress, for crisis and accident management in high risk and potentially dangerous industries. He is also a Trials Master for new Warships both for the RN and for export to other navies.
Captain Hackett lives with his wife near Petersfield in Hampshire and has a son and daughter.
Lieutenant M Holloway RN joined the Royal Navy in 1963 as a short service pilot. He served with 800 Squadron flying the Buccaneer Mk1 from HMS Eagle and subsequently he flew the Mk2, also with 800 Squadron.
He was a QFI and served at RAF Linton on Ouse in a second-line flying appointment. After leaving the Royal Navy in 1971 he joined the Fleet Requirements and Air Direction unit at Yeovilton, flying the Hunter and Falcon 20 that were operated by Flight Refuelling Ltd. For several years he flew in the Blue Herons aerobatic team.
When the Hunters were withdrawn he flew for a number of minor airlines before returning to Yeovilton in 1998 as a pilot on Heron Flight flying the Navy Jetstream on communication flights all round Europe. He retired from flying at the end of 2003.
Commander T J I Howard-Jones RN BSc learned to fly in Manchester University Air Squadron in 1963 and he joined the Royal Navy in January 1967. He served as an Observer on 809 Naval Air Squadron (Buccaneer S Mk 2) from 1970 to 1971 and 1976 to 1978. He completed the Royal Air Force Staff Navigation Course in 1971 and GD Aerosystems Course in 1972. He worked at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment Boscombe Down as Flight Trials Officer from 1973 to 1976 and a Trials Section Leader from 1982 to 1985. He was a Systems Analyst at the Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough from 1978 to 1981. He served in MOD Whitehall as the desk officer for the Sea Harrier Mid Life Update in 1985 – 1987 and 1990 to 1992. His final appointment before leaving the Royal Navy was as Officer in Charge of the Naval Air Warfare Development Unit from 1992 to 1994.
Lieutenant Commander Brian Jackson-Dooley RN joined the Royal Navy in 1961 and as a midshipman served in a landing ship, HMS Striker, in the Persian Gulf. The principal purpose for the military presence in the region at that time was to dissuade the Iraqis from invading Kuwait and it proved successful.
In 1965 he qualified as an observer in the AEW role and joined HMS Eagle in the Far East. Following a late night swim in the South China Sea, courtesy of a Gannet engine failure, he thought it would be more civilised to see where he was going and transferred to Buccaneers. Brian qualified in the Strike role and joined HMS Eagle in 1967 for the second time. Two further sea going tours in Buccaneers followed, both in HMS Ark Royal.
In 1975 he joined VA 42, the A6 Intruder training organisation based on the East coast of the USA. Initially he was the Systems Training Officer, later the Director of Replacement Training. During this shore job he took 6 trainee pilots to the decks of four US carriers making 90 arrested landings. This was his final flying appointment, completing with 2500 hours in the strike/attack role and rather more terrifying arrested landings than he cares to remember.
His final appointment was negotiating the specification of the mission system avionics for the Nimrod AEW with the contractor before he retired from the Royal Navy in 1980. A successful second career followed and he has a Board position in a pharmaceutical company.
Captain Alan Leahy CBE DSC RN joined the Royal Navy in 1943 as Naval Airman 2nd Class. he was trained by the US Navy as a fighter pilot flying Corsairs. Later he qualified as an Air Weapons Officer. He has served on the aircraft carriers Implacable, Illustrious, Theseus, Vengeance, Glory, Bulwark, Ark Royal, Victorious and Hermes. He commanded 738 (Seahawks), 803 (Scimitars) 700 Z and 809 (Buccaneers) and has flown 35 different types of aircraft.
In 1953 he was awarded the DSC for operations over Korea flying Sea Furies in 801 Squadron from HMS Glory. He was the leader of the all red Royal Navy Seahawk aerobatic team of five aircraft at the 1957 Farnborough Air Show. He was made MBE in 1958.
Amongst a variety of appointments he was Director of the Naval Air Warfare Division of the Naval Staff when the Royal Navy got approval for the Sea Harrier. His final appointment was as Commodore Clyde in command of HMS Neptune and the Fastlane Submarine Base. He was appointed ADC in 1977 and promoted to CBE in 1978.
Captain John de Winton RN joined the Royal navy as a seaman officer. He qualified as a fighter pilot in 1955 after flying training with US Navy. Served in Sea Venom Night and all Weather Fighters based at Yeovilton 1956 to 1960. 809 Squadron HMS Albion (Suez) 56/57. Qualified as flying instructor 1958. QFI NAWF School 766 Squadron 58/60. Sea Vixens Squadrons based at Yeovilton 60/61. 893 Squadron HMS Ark Royal.
Senior pilot 893 Squadron HMS Centaur.
In 1962 he transferred to Lossiemouth, initially to Buccaneer Mk1 Intensive Flying Trials Unit, then as Senior Pilot 801 Squadron, first front line Buccaneer squadron, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Victorious in the Far East.
He was CO of 809 Squadron Trials and Training Squadron Lossiemouth in 1964.
In 1965 he became CO 801 Squadron HMS Victorious, Far East, then after disbanding Mk 1 Squadron, CO 0f 801 Squadron again, first Mk 2 Buccaneer Squadron.
He was promoted to Commander at the end of 1965.
He commanded HMS Puma, frigate from 1967-1969, then London (MOD) i/c of all Fleet Air Arm officer appointments. Promoted to Captain in 1971.
Staff of CinC Fleet 1971-73. Commanded HMS Leander and Captain 3rd Frigate squadron from 1974-75.
Director of Naval Air Warfare (MOD) from 1975-78. He retired in 1980.
Served in Sultan of Oman’s Navy as Chief of Staff from 1982-88.
He is married with four children, six grandchildren and lives in Somerset. He keeps busy with many jobs in his large garden, playing golf and croquet.