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Joseph Cosgrove

Joseph Cosgrove

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"Never in the history of mankind has so much been owed by so many to so few".

Churchill, so legend has it, first used his famous words upon his exit from the Battle of Britain Bunker at RAF Uxbridge on 16 August 1940, when visiting the No. 11 Group RAF Operations Room during a day of battle. Afterwards, Churchill told Major General Hastings Ismay, "Don't speak to me, I have never been so moved". After several minutes of silence, he said the sentence would form the basis of his speech to the House of Commons on 20 August.

Perhaps the words of the Great man, Sir Winston Churchill were going through Flight Lieutenant Alan Pollock’s mind when he went rogue in his Hawker Hunter FGA. 9

1968. the RAF was to celebrate its golden anniversary of 50 years, making it the oldest Airforce in the world. As mentioned in the OTP English Electric Lightening video: The Royal Flying Corps was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force.

However, under Harold Wilson’s Labor government and a succession of Conservative governments before him, it was considered necessary to cut defense budgets, in spite of:

“Wilson's first period as Prime Minister coincided with a period of low unemployment and relative economic prosperity”.

The spending cuts included a lot of fighter planes of the RAF, to be replaced by guided weapons. (cf The 1957 Defense White Paper)

This naturally did not go down well with British airplane manufacturing companies and moral in the armed forces was expectedly low. On 1 April 1968, Pollock and other members of No. 1 Squadron took part in anniversary leaflet raids on other RAF stations and on 4 April visited RAF Tangmere, where they performed a display. –Tangmere was later to be mothballed by the gov. They were then to return to RAF West Raynham the following day, 5th April 1968.

Flt lt Alan Pollock decided to show his anger at the cuts and the government’s lack luster attitude of celebrating their golden anniversary. As the planes took off, he broke off from formation, ignoring repeated radio calls Pollock then dropped low and headed towards Dunsfold Aerodrome* where the Hunter hawkers were made.

Ft Lt Pollock proceeded to ‘beat up the airfield”, which in RAF slang means low leveled high-pitched screaming passes. His Next stop was on to the houses of Parliament. Flying low and at relatively slow speed until he saw the houses in the distance. Here Pollock accelerated his Rolls Royce Avon MK 207 engine and made three buzzing passes which had the windows of the Houses of Parliaments vibrating. This was Ft Lt Pollock’s way of showing parliament that he (and the RAF) were not at all happy with the reducing of the defense budget, not to mention it’s sh*tty way of celebrating their golden Jubilee (I mean WTF dropping leaflets!?).

With it being a Saturday, there were thousands of people who stopped to stare at this lone fighter jet racing along the embankment, which runs parallel to the river Thames. He passed the RAF memorial with its tapering Portland stone pylon topped by zodiacal globe bearing a gilded eagle with raised wings, taken from the RAF's badge. Facing east towards the River Thames and in the rough direction of France**. He dipped his wings in solemn salute.

He then came to an even bigger (in the true sense of the word) symbol of London, the famous Tower Bridge. In Pollock’s own words “he was unsure of what to do; should he just fly over it or go through it”. Between the road bridge and the overhead walkway with the two towers barely 61metres apart. A double decker bus was crossing over the bridge (along with the usual procession of London Hackney cabs).

He might as well be hung for a lamb as for a sheep. After all his jet was a low-level attack fighter and that is what he was trained for. There are no photographs or footage of the exploit, however it was the talk of the city for many weeks afterwards.

On his way back to RAF West Raynham, Flight lieutenant Pollock beat up three other RAF airfields preforming low level pass overs and victory rolls. Word of his exploits over the houses of Parliament and through the Tower bridge, proceeded his arrival. His welcoming committee included a couple of burly RAF policemen waiting quietly in the background.

For his troubles Flight lieutenant Pollock was given a medical discharge. Quietly so that there was no scandal. However, there was a scandal as soon as the newspapers heard about it. Even with public outcry, it took until 1982 before he was exonerated of any wrong doing.

* By the early 1950s, Hawker’s were developing jets for which the short, grass landing strips then available to them, were not sufficient. They needed long, hard-surfaced runways, which was what Dunsfold could provide.

**The Royal Air Force Memorial is a military memorial on the Victoria Embankment in central London, dedicated to the memory of the casualties of the Royal Air Force in World War I. Unveiled in 1923, it became a Grade II listed structure in 1958, and was upgraded to Grade II* in 2018

  • On the outbreak of the Second World War, Harold Wilson volunteered for military service but was classed as a specialist and moved into the civil service instead, (No comment).
As the more observant of you may have noticed, I've changed the title. It get's more interesting as the video gets further in.

Please do not hesitate to put a like (on his- not mine, as long as I'm still up on likes compared to Dusa on the forum, I'm happy. Or even better a comment.
 
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Joseph Cosgrove

Joseph Cosgrove

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The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was an American supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. Capable of Mach 2, it conducted the majority of strike bombing missions during the early years of the Vietnam War; it was the only American aircraft to have been removed from combat due to high loss rates.
Nicknamed the “Thud” by pilots and ground crew alike. On Mar. 2, 1965, North Vietnamese guards at an ammunition storage area near Xom Bang heard the telltale sounds of massed aircraft overhead. They then learned why the F-105 Thunderchief earned the nickname "Thud" as 5,000 pounds of bombs from each of the passing planes hit the Earth around them.

The Operation Rolling Thunder bombing campaign began on March 2, 1965, partly in response to a Viet Cong attack on a U.S. air base at Pleiku. The Johnson administration cited a number of reasons for shifting U.S. strategy to include systematic aerial assaults on North Vietnam.
The United States Air Force had just launched Operation Rolling Thunder, a bombing campaign over North Vietnam that lasted more than three years. Rolling Thunder was an effort to break the will and ability of the Communists in the North and bring a negotiated end to the aggression against the non-Communist South. But, like many other aspects of the Vietnam War, it restricted the warfighter for political reasons and failed to achieve its overall strategic goals.

Meanwhile, the men flying above North Vietnam were performing acts of valor and heroism without knowing what's happening in Washington. The Thunderchief was later replaced as a strike aircraft over North Vietnam by both the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and the swing-wing General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark. However, the "Wild Weasel" variants of the F-105 remained in service until 1984 after being replaced by the specialized F-4G "Wild Weasel V".

Although it is difficult to put an actual number on the downed aircraft as reports vary. The pilots and families could always rely on the search and rescue in their Jolly Green Giants. Referred to in the documentary as the more familiar nick name as “Jolly Greens”. The Sikorsky HH-3E nicknamed the “Jolly Green Giant” due to its distinctive green paint scheme. In 1965 alone, the HH-3E crews rescued 122 troops from the jungles of Vietnam .
to go to the video and hopefully leave a comment and a like Not on my post:rolleyes:
 

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