Pictured: Two RAF Marham veterans: WNAS Chairman Chris Halliday congratulating Steven Parker after his personal portrayal of the Falklands affair.
Following an assignment he made some years ago to talk to us about his exploits in Antarctica, Steven Parker from Feltwell, paid us another visit to account for the role he played in the handling of the Falklands war, code named operation Black Buck.
Stephen, who spent 23 years in the RAF, was stationed at Marham for 5 years serving as Chief Technician whilst working on Victor Bombers. During his time there, the war broke out and 24 of these bombers were converted into tankers in order to refuel the Waddington based Vulcan (nicknamed the flat iron) which had been chosen to target the Argentine held Port Stanley airport.
Steven seemed to have his own rather cynical view about whether this was a wise decision especially when it was revealed that a slide rule bought on Swaffham Market was used to assist with the calculations involved in the planning of the refuelling operations. Eighteen of the converted Victors waiting at Wideawake airport on the RAF Ascension Island were to be juggled in training exercises before the actual assault. Steven, now based there too, gave an account of his own personal problems: breathing (dust); accommodation (tents); manoeuvring aeroplanes (Vulcan’s weight so great with cargo, bombs and fuel the wheels sunk into the soft runway).
Steven also gave an account of the part played by other support aircraft. Among them were: Sea Harrier jump jet, Nimrod and Hercules. The latter was another aircraft adapted for tanker duties, but, Steven remarked, ‘owing to its speed limitation it needed to adopt an unconventional flying attitude’: once connected to its recipient the pair would descend in a shallow dive in order to transfer fuel more efficiently.
At the end of his talk Steven, very modestly, revealed that he and an associate of his, Brian Martin, had written a book entitled ‘Marham Tankers’. So impressed was our base Commander, David A, that he suggested our society buy three of these to present to worthy stalwarts of our crew: twenty one strong on the night.
The Speaker Meetings are usually held at the Mundford Bowls Club on the first Tuesday of the Month at 1900hrs. As well, our Commander has organised a morning splinter group meeting at 1100 hrs on the following Friday to chat about fascinating trivia and provide succour to some of our veteran members who find it difficult to attend the speaker meetings in the evening.
Please find here: www.westnorfolkaviationsociety.org.uk details of WNAS Calendar, Photos, Press Releases, and any changes to the schedule.