English Electric Lightning
The English Electric Lightning is a fighter aircraft that served as an interceptor during the 1960s, the 1970s and into the late 1980s. It remains the only UK-designed-and-built fighter capable of Mach 2; the Lightning was designed and manufactured by English Electric, subsequently absorbed by the newly-formed British Aircraft Corporation. The type was marketed as the BAC Lightning, it was operated by the Kuwait Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force. A unique feature of the Lightning's design is the vertical, staggered configuration of its two Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engines within the fuselage; the Lightning was designed and developed as an interceptor to defend the V bomber airfields from attack by anticipated future nuclear-armed supersonic Soviet bombers such as what emerged as the Tupolev Tu-22, but it was subsequently required to intercept other bomber aircraft such as the Tupolev Tu-16 and the Tupolev Tu-95. The Lightning has exceptional rate of climb and speed; this performance and the limited fuel supply made the Lightning a "fuel-critical" aircraft, meaning that its missions are dictated to a high degree by its limited range.
Developments provided greater range and speed along with aerial reconnaissance and ground-attack capability. Following retirement by the RAF in the late 1980s, many of the remaining aircraft became museum exhibits; until 2009, three Lightnings were kept flying at "Thunder City" in South Africa. In September 2008, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers conferred on the Lightning its "Engineering Heritage Award" at a ceremony at BAE Systems' site at Warton Aerodrome; the specification for the aircraft followed the cancellation of the Air Ministry's 1942 E.24/43 supersonic research aircraft specification which had resulted in the Miles M.52 programme. W. E. W. "Teddy" Petter chief designer at Westland Aircraft, was a keen early proponent of Britain's need to develop a supersonic fighter aircraft. In 1947, Petter approached the Ministry of Supply with his proposal, in response Specification ER.103 was issued for a single research aircraft, to be capable of flight at Mach 1.5 and 50,000 feet. Petter initiated a design proposal with F W "Freddie" Page leading the design and Ray Creasey responsible for the aerodynamics.
By July 1948 their proposal incorporated the stacked engine configuration and a high-mounted tailplane but was designed for Mach 1.5. As a consequence it had a conventional 40° swept wing This proposal was submitted in the November and in January 1949 the project was designated P.1 by English Electric. On 29 March 1949 MoS granted approval for English Electric to start the detailed design, develop wind tunnel models and build a full-size mockup; the design that had developed during 1948 evolved further during 1949. To achieve Mach 2 the wing sweep was increased to 60° with the ailerons moved to the wingtips. In late 1949 low-speed wind tunnel tests showed that a vortex was generated by the wing which caused a large downwash on the tailplane. Following the resignation of Petter, Page took over as design team leader for the P.1. In 1949, the Ministry of Supply had issued Specification F23/49, which expanded upon the scope of ER103 to include fighter-level manoeuvring. On 1 April 1950, English Electric received a contract for two flying airframes, as well as one static airframe, designated P.1.
The Royal Aircraft Establishment was sceptical of Petter's swept wing concepts. To test the design of both the wing, the tailplane and to assess handling, Short Brothers were issued a contract to produce the Short SB5 in mid-1950; this was a low-speed research aircraft and was designed so that different wing sweep angles could be assumed by the single aircraft. An assortment of tailplanes and wings were supplied and could be installed in order for their flight performance to be evaluated. However, following the first flight of the SB.5 on 2 December 1952, the trials demonstrated the choice of a tailplane and a 60 degree wingsweep and proved the design principles to be effective. From 1953 onwards, the first three prototype aircraft were hand-built at Samlesbury; these aircraft had been assigned the aircraft serials WG760, WG763, WG765. The prototypes were powered by un-reheated Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojets, as the selected Rolls-Royce Avon engines which would power subsequent production aircraft had fallen behind schedule due to their own development problems.
Due to the limited internal space of the fuselage the fuel capacity was small, giving the prototypes an limited endurance, the narrow tyres housed in the thin wings would wear out. Outwardly, the prototypes looked much like the production series, but they were distinguished by the rounded-triangular intakes, short fins and lack of operational equipment. On 9 June 1952, it had been decided that there would be a second phase of prototypes built to develop the aircraft towards achieving Mach 2.0. P.1B was a significant improvement on P.1A. While it was similar in aerodynamics and control systems, it incorporated extensive alterations to the forward fuselage, reheated Rolls Royce Avon R24R engines, a conical centre body inlet cone, variable nozzle reheat and provision for weapons systems integrated with the ADC and AI.23 radar. Three P1B prototypes were built, assigned serials XA847, XA853 and XA856In May 1954, WG760 and its support equipment were moved to RAF Boscombe Down for pre-flight ground taxi trials.
The Bristol Type 171 Sycamore was an early helicopter developed and built by the helicopter division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. The name refers to the seeds of the Sycamore tree, Acer pseudoplatanus, which fall with a rotating motion, it has the distinction of being the first British helicopter to receive a certificate of airworthiness, as well as being the first British-designed helicopter to be introduced by and to serve with the Royal Air Force. Capable of seating up to three passengers, the type was used as a transport for both passengers and cargo alike. In RAF service, the Sycamore was used in the search and rescue and casualty evacuation roles; the type proved the value of rotorcraft to traverse inhospitable or otherwise inaccessible terrain. In addition to its British military service, various models of the Sycamore were produced and operated by a number of users, including overseas military operations and civil customers. Civilian operations involved transportation, mountain rescue, aerial survey work.
In 1959, production of the Sycamore ended. During the Second World War, new methods of aircraft propulsion were experimented with. In 1944, Bristol established a specialised helicopter division shortly after the Allied invasion of Europe, when engineers from the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at Beaulieu became available; the AFEE had been conducting its own work on the development of rotorcraft designs under the noted helicopter pioneer Raoul Hafner. Hafner, whose company had been acquired by Bristol was promptly appointed by the company as the head of Bristol's new helicopter division. In June 1944, work commenced on the development on a four-seat helicopter intended for both civil and military use. During development, particular emphasis was assigned to the producing the necessary level of endurance of the rotorcraft's mechanical components. On 25 July 1947, the first prototype, VL958, powered by a 450-horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior, performed the type's maiden flight. In mid-1948, the third prototype, built to the improved Sycamore Mk.2 standard, was completed.
On 25 April 1949, a certificate of airworthiness was granted for the Sycamore, the first such to be granted to a British helicopter. During the flight test programme, Bristol's key development pilots for the Type 171 included Charles "Sox" Hosegood and Col. Robert "Bob" Smith. In 1951, a Bristol-owned Sycamore Mk.2 was used during a series of deck landing trials performed on board the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Triumph. An improved model of the helicopter, designated as the Sycamore Mk.3, was developed. A total of 23 Sycamore Mk.3s were produced, 15 of these were principally used for joint evaluation purposes by the Royal Air Force, Army Air Corps, British European Airways. Versions of the Sycamore up to and including the Mk.3A retained the standard two-seat cockpit layout, placing the pilot in the left-hand seat and the co-pilot in the right. However, on the main production model, designated as the Sycamore Mk.4, this seating arrangement had been switched to the standard American practice of positioning the pilot's seat on the right.
There were a number of other developments that had featured upon the earlier versions, such as a four-door design, standardised upon the Sycamore Mk.4. This version entered RAF service, receiving the military designation of HR14. Civil versions were not marketed under the Sycamore name, they were instead known as the Bristol Type 171. By May 1958, over 150 Sycamores had been manufactured and four units per month were being built; the Bristol Sycamore is one of the first production helicopters to be developed. Each Sycamore was manufactured with all of the necessary fixed fittings to enable it to be adapted between configurations to perform any of six major roles: search and rescue, air ambulance, passenger transport, freight transport, aerial crane and dual instruction; the Sycamore is capable of seating four-to-five occupants, dependent upon model, within the main cabin. In addition to the main cabin, it has a separate luggage compartment. A specialised air ambulance model of the Sycamore was developed during the early 1950s.
In this configuration, up to two patients were internally-stowed on stretchers stacked one over the other in the cabin. To provide the extra width necessary to accommodate this arrangement, detachable Perspex blisters are fitted on each side of the cabin; the stretcher racks could be folded into the sides of the cabin, providing room for up to three sitting casualties instead.
McDonnell Douglas Phantom in UK service
The United Kingdom operated the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II as one of its principal combat aircraft from the 1960s to the early 1990s. The UK was the first export customer for the Phantom, ordered in the context of political and economic difficulties around British designs for the roles that it undertook; the Phantom was procured to serve in both the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force in several roles including air defence, close air support, low-level strike and tactical reconnaissance. Although assembled in the United States, the UK's Phantoms were a special batch built separately and containing a significant amount of British technology as a means of easing the pressure on the domestic aerospace industry in the wake of major project cancellations. Two variants were built for the UK: the F-4K variant was designed from the outset as an air defence interceptor to be operated by the Fleet Air Arm from the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers. In the mid-1980s, a third Phantom variant was obtained when a quantity of second-hand F-4J aircraft were purchased to augment the UK's air defences following the Falklands War.
The Phantom entered service with both the Fleet Air Arm and the RAF in 1969. In the Royal Navy it had a secondary strike role in addition to its primary use for fleet air defence, while in the RAF it was soon replaced in the strike role by other aircraft designed for strike and close air support. By the mid-1970s it had become the UK's principal interceptor, a role in which it continued until the late 1980s. In the late 1950s, the British Government began the process of replacing its early second-generation jet combat aircraft in service with the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm. At the time, the British aerospace industry was still a major source of equipment, designs from several companies were in service; the 1957 Defence White Paper brought about a significant change in the working practices, the Government compelling major aerospace manufacturers to amalgamate into two large groups: British Aircraft Corporation and Hawker Siddeley. The intention was to rationalise the industry to cut costs, the government offered incentives for amalgamation through promises of contracts for new aircraft orders for the armed forces.
At the time, the RAF were looking to replace the English Electric Canberra light bomber in the long-range interdictor role, the Hawker Hunter in the close air support role, while the Royal Navy sought an aircraft to assume the fleet air defence role from the de Havilland Sea Vixen. BAC, through its English Electric subsidiary, had begun developing a new high-performance strike aircraft, the TSR-2, intended for long-range, low-level strike missions with conventional and tactical nuclear weapons, as well as tactical reconnaissance. Hawker Siddeley was developing a new aircraft, based on its P.1127 V/STOL demonstrator. The P.1154 was proposed as a supersonic version that could be marketed to both the RAF and Royal Navy to fulfil a number of roles: close air support, air superiority and fleet air defence. During the early 1960s, aircraft development became expensive, resulting in major projects becoming mired in political and economic concerns; the development of TSR-2 saw increasing cost overruns, combined with the presence of a cheaper alternative under development in the United States, the F-111.
The P.1154 was subject to the ongoing inter-service rivalry between the Royal Navy and RAF, which led to two wildly differing specifications being submitted for the aircraft that were impossible to fulfill with a single airframe. In 1964, the Royal Navy withdrew from the P.1154 project, moved to procure a new fleet air defence interceptor. It selected the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in service with the US Navy as its primary air defence aircraft, intended to be operated from both existing and planned aircraft carriers; this better suited the Royal Navy, as the Phantom had two engines, was cheaper than the P.1154, was available. The P.1154 was thus left as a wholly RAF project. The same year, a general election brought the Labour Party back into power; the new government undertook a defence review, which led to the 1966 Defence White Paper that cancelled several projects, including both the P.1154 and TSR-2. As a consequence, the government was forced to order new aircraft to replace the Canberra and Hunter for the RAF, chose two types.
To replace the Canberra in the long-range role, the F-111 was selected, with plans for a redesigned variant, while the roles undertaken by the Hunter would be undertaken by a further purchase of F-4 Phantoms. As the Phantom had been developed for fleet air defence, the Royal Navy was happy with the choice of the aircraft as its Sea Vixen replacement, given that the type had been operational in that role with the US Navy since 1961, whilst US aircraft had undertaken touch-and-go landings on both HMS Hermes and HMS Victorious; the RAF was less enthusiastic, as the Phantom was designed to operate in the air defence rather than the close air support role, had been selected as its Hunter replacement more as a way of decreasing the per-unit cost of the overall UK order. As a means of guaranteeing employment in the British aerospace industry, agreement was reached that major portions of the UK's Phantoms would be built domesticall
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' only jet aircraft to achieve combat operations during the Second World War. The Meteor's development was reliant on its ground-breaking turbojet engines, pioneered by Sir Frank Whittle and his company, Power Jets Ltd. Development of the aircraft began in 1940, although work on the engines had been under way since 1936; the Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with No. 616 Squadron RAF. The Meteor was not a sophisticated aircraft in its aerodynamics, but proved to be a successful combat fighter. Gloster's 1946 civil Meteor F.4 demonstrator G-AIDC was the first civilian-registered jet aircraft in the world. Several major variants of the Meteor incorporated technological advances during the 1940s and 1950s. Thousands of Meteors were built to fly with the RAF and other air forces and remained in use for several decades; the Meteor saw limited action in the Second World War. Meteors of the Royal Australian Air Force fought in the Korean War.
Several other operators such as Argentina and Israel flew Meteors in regional conflicts. Specialised variants of the Meteor were developed for use in photographic aerial reconnaissance and as night fighters; the Meteor was used for research and development purposes and to break several aviation records. On 7 November 1945, the first official airspeed record by a jet aircraft was set by a Meteor F.3 at 606 miles per hour. In 1946, this record was broken. Other performance-related records were broken in categories including flight time endurance, rate of climb, speed. On 20 September 1945, a modified Meteor I, powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent turbine engines driving propellers, became the first turboprop aircraft to fly. On 10 February 1954, a specially adapted Meteor F.8, the "Meteor Prone Pilot", which placed the pilot into a prone position to counteract inertial forces, took its first flight. In the 1950s, the Meteor became obsolete as more nations introduced jet fighters, many of these newcomers having adopted a swept wing instead of the Meteor's conventional straight wing.
As of 2018, two Meteors, G-JSMA and G-JWMA, remain in active service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat testbeds. One further aircraft in the UK remains airworthy; the development of the turbojet-powered Gloster Meteor was a collaboration between the Gloster Aircraft Company and Sir Frank Whittle's firm, Power Jets Ltd. Whittle formed Power Jets Ltd in March 1936 to develop his ideas of jet propulsion, Whittle himself serving as the company's chief engineer. For several years, attracting financial backers and aviation firms prepared to take on Whittle's radical ideas was difficult. Securing funding was a persistently worrying issue throughout the early development of the engine; the first Whittle prototype jet engine, the Power Jets WU, began running trials in early 1937. On 28 April 1939, Whittle made a visit to the premises of the Gloster Aircraft Company, where he met several key figures, such as George Carter, Gloster's chief designer. Carter took a keen interest in Whittle's project when he saw the operational Power Jets W.1 engine.
Independently, Whittle had been producing several proposals for a high-altitude jet-powered bomber. Power Jets and Gloster formed a mutual understanding around mid-1939. In spite of ongoing infighting between Power Jets and several of its stakeholders, the Air Ministry contracted Gloster in late 1939 to manufacture a prototype aircraft powered by one of Whittle's new turbojet engines; the single-engined proof-of-concept Gloster E28/39, the first British jet-powered aircraft, conducted its maiden flight on 15 May 1941, flown by Gloster's chief test pilot, Flight Lieutenant Philip "Gerry" Sayer. The success of the E.28/39 proved the viability of jet propulsion, Gloster pressed ahead with designs for a production fighter aircraft. Due to the limited thrust available from early jet engines, it was decided that subsequent production aircraft would be powered by a pair of turbojet engines. In 1940, for a "military load" of 1,500 lb, the Royal Aircraft Establishment had advised that work on an aircraft of 8,500 lb all-up weight, with a total static thrust of 3,200 lbf should be started, with an 11,000 lb design for the expected, more powerful, W.2 and axial engine designs.
George Carter's calculations based on the RAE work and his own investigations was that a 8,700-to-9,000-pound aircraft with two or four 20 mm cannons and six 0.303 machine guns would have a top speed of 400–431 miles per hour at sea level and 450–470 miles per hour at 30,000 feet. In January 1941 Gloster were told by Lord Beaverbrook that the twin jet fighter was of "unique importance", that the company was to stop work on a night-fighter development of their F.9/37 to Specification F.18/40. In August 1940, Carter presented Gloster's initial proposals for a twin-engined jet fighter with a tricycle undercarriage. On 7 February 1941, Gloster received an order for twelv
De Havilland Tiger Moth
The de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s British biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was operated by many other operators as a primary trainer aircraft. In addition to the type's principal use for ab-initio training, the Second World War saw RAF Tiger Moths operating in other capacities, including maritime surveillance and defensive anti-invasion preparations; the Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until it was succeeded and replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk during the early 1950s. Many of the military surplus aircraft subsequently entered into civil operation. Many nations have used the Tiger Moth in both military and civil applications, it remains in widespread use as a recreational aircraft in several countries, it is still used as a primary training aircraft for those pilots wanting to gain experience before moving on to other tailwheel aircraft. Many Tiger Moths are now employed by various companies offering trial lesson experiences.
The de Havilland Moth club, founded in 1975, is now an owners' association offering a mutual club and technical support. Among the reasons for which de Havilland came to pursue development of the Tiger Moth was the personal dissatisfaction of Geoffrey de Havilland, the company's owner and founder, who sought to produce a light aircraft superior to two of his previous designs, the de Havilland Humming Bird and de Havilland DH.51. From earlier experience, de Havilland knew the difficulty and importance of sizing such an aircraft to appeal to various sectors of the civil market, such as touring, flying club and private aviation customers; the starting point for the Tiger Moth was, in fact, the successful Gypsy Tiger. Successively more capable engines had been developed, the company had produced a prototype to test the new de Havilland Gipsy III engine; this prototype, a low-wing monoplane, was a modification of the standard Gypsy Tiger. Improvements made on the Tiger Moth monoplane were first incorporated into a military trainer variant of the de Havilland DH.60 Moth, designated the DH.60T Moth – in parlance the T came to stand for'Tiger' in addition to'Trainer'.
According to aviation author A. J. Jackson, development of the standard Tiger Moth version from the monoplane prototype had proceeded straightforward after this point; the DH.60T Moth had several shortcomings, thus was subject to several alterations, such as the adoption of shortened interplane struts in order to raise the wingtips after insufficient ground clearance was discovered while it was undergoing trials at RAF Martlesham Heath. As a result of the Martlesham trials, a favourable report for the type was produced, which in turn led to the type soon being formally adopted as the new basic trainer of the Royal Air Force. A single prototype, designated the DH.82 Tiger Moth, was ordered by the British Air Ministry under Specification 15/31, which sought a suitable ab-initio training aircraft. One of the main changes made from the preceding Moth series was necessitated by a desire to improve access to the front cockpit since the training requirement specified that the front seat occupant had to be able to escape especially when wearing a parachute.
Access to the front cockpit of the Moth's predecessors was restricted by the proximity of the aircraft's fuel tank, directly above the front cockpit and the rear cabane struts for the upper wing. The solution adopted was to shift the upper wing forward but sweep the wings back to maintain the centre of lift. Other changes included a strengthened structure, fold-down doors on both sides of the cockpit and a revised exhaust system. On 26 October 1931 the first'true' Tiger Moth, the prototype E6, conducted its maiden flight at Stag Lane Aerodrome, London. Shortly thereafter construction of the first 35 production aircraft for the RAF, designated K2567-K2601, began following the issuing of Specification T.23/31. The Tiger Moth became a commercial success, various models were exported to more than 25 air forces of various nations. In addition to the military demand, aircraft were produced for the civil market. At one point the flow of orders for the Tiger Moth occupied the entirety of de Havilland's capacity to manufacture aircraft, little capacity could be spared to accommodate domestic customers.
In 1932 de Havilland developed an affordable air taxi from the Tiger Moth. Following the end of all manufacturing, third parties would re-build Tiger Moths to a similar configuration to the Fox Moth, such as the Thruxton Jackaroo. In late 1934 50 Tiger Moths of a more refined design, sometimes referred to as the Tiger Moth II, were delivered to the RAF. Throughout the period 1934–1936 production activity was centred upon meeting the demand for military trainers, including several contracts having been placed by the RAF to Specification T.7/35 a
HMS Cossack (F03)
HMS Cossack was a Tribal-class destroyer named after the Cossack people of the Russian and Ukrainian steppe. She became famous for the boarding of the German supply ship Altmark in Norwegian waters, the associated rescue of sailors captured by the Admiral Graf Spee, she was torpedoed by U-563 on 23 October 1941, sank 4 days on 27 October. She was laid down at the Walker Naval Yard of Vickers-Armstrongs in Newcastle upon Tyne on 9 June 1936, launched on 8 June 1937 by Mrs. S. V. Goodall, commissioned on 7 June 1938 and completed on 14 June 1938. During her trials Cossack made 36.223 knots at 366.4 RPM with 44,430 shp at 2,030 long tons. Cossack's first action was under the command of Philip Vian; this was the Altmark Incident in Jøssingfjord, Norway which resulted in the freeing of the Admiral Graf Spee's prisoners who were being held aboard the supply ship Altmark and the death of eight crew members of the German ship. In the Incident the German tanker rammed her with the stern at an angle of about 30° at the level of her bridge and drove the destroyer towards the fiord wall.
The Norwegian officers present reported that only the mass of ice piled up prevented the destroyer being crushed onto the rocky shore. The powerful engines of the destroyer made her escape from the squeeze possible. Cossack arrived at Leith on 17 February with the 299 freed prisoners, she had to be docked for her propellor and A-brackets to be checked in case they had been damaged by the thick ice in the fiord. They were unharmed, but her stern plating had to be repaired where it had been bumping against Altmark; the Norwegian Government subsequently protested at Cossack's breach of Norway's neutrality and demanded the return of the prisoners, with the German government further protesting at the act of violence committed against Altmark. Cossack participated in the Second Battle of Narvik in April 1940; that year, she was part of the force, assigned to hunt for a German surface raider, reported breaking out into the North Atlantic. The force consisted of the battlecruiser Hood, the light cruiser Edinburgh, the destroyers Electra, Echo and Cossack.
The report turned out to be false, so after spending a week at sea, including Christmas Day, she returned to port on New Year's Eve. In May 1941, she participated in the destruction of the German battleship Bismarck. While escorting Convoy WS-8B to the Middle East and four other destroyers broke off on 26 May, headed towards the area where Bismarck had been reported, they found Bismarck that evening and made several torpedo attacks in the evening and into the next morning. No hits were scored, but they kept the Bismarck's gunners from getting any sleep, making it easier for the battleships to attack the Bismarck the next morning. On 23 October 1941, Cossack was escorting a convoy from Gibraltar to the United Kingdom when she was struck by a single torpedo fired by the German submarine U-563 commanded by Klaus Bargsten, she was taken in tow by a tug from Gibraltar on 25 October, but the weather worsened and the tow was slipped on 26 October. Cossack sank in the Atlantic west of Gibraltar on 27 October 1941.
159 of her crew were lost. Brice, Martin H.. The Tribals. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0245-2. English, John. Afridi to Nizam: British Fleet Destroyers 1937–43. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9. Friedman, Norman. British Destroyers and Frigates, the Second World War and After. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-86176-137-6. Haarr, Geirr H.. The Battle for Norway: April–June 1940. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-051-1. Haarr, Geirr H.. The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-310-9. Hodges, Peter. Tribal Class Destroyers. London: Almark. ISBN 0-85524-047-4. Lenton, H. T.. British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7. March, Edgar J.. British Destroyers: A History of Development, 1892-1953. London: Seeley Service. OCLC 164893555. Rohwer, Jürgen. Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press.
ISBN 1-59114-119-2. Whitley, M. J.. Destroyers of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1. R. K. Lochner: Als das Eis brach: Der Krieg zur See um Norwegen 1940. Heyne Verlag, München 1983; the HMS Cossack Association
RAF Tangmere, in Tangmere, 3 miles east of Chichester, West Sussex, was a Royal Air Force station famous for its role in the Battle of Britain. Famous Second World War aces wing commander Douglas Bader, the inexperienced Johnnie Johnson were at Tangmere in 1941; the aerodrome was founded in 1917 for use by the Royal Flying Corps as a training base. In 1918 it was turned over to the United States Army Air Force as a training ground, continued as such until the end of the Great War in November of that year, after which the airfield was mothballed. In 1925 the station re-opened to serve the RAF's Fleet Air Arm, went operational in 1926 with No. 43 Squadron equipped with biplane Gloster Gamecocks. As war threatened in the late thirties, the fighters became faster, with Hawker Furies, Gloster Gladiators, Hawker Hurricanes all being used at Tangmere. In 1939 the airfield was enlarged to defend the south coast against attack by the Luftwaffe, with Tangmere's only hotel and some houses being demolished in the process.
The RAF commandeered the majority of houses in the centre of the village, with only six to eight families being allowed to stay. It was only in 1966. In August 1940 the first squadron of Supermarine Spitfires was based at the satellite airfield at nearby Westhampnett, as the Battle of Britain began. By now the villagers had been evacuated, extensive ranges of RAF buildings had sprung up; the first and worst enemy raid on the station came on 16 August 1940 when hundreds of Stuka dive bombers and fighters crossed the English coast and attacked Tangmere. There was extensive damage to buildings and aircraft on the ground and 14 ground staff and six civilians were killed, but the station was kept in service and brought back into full operation. Throughout the war, the station was used by the Royal Air Force Special Duty Service when 161 Squadron's Lysander flight came down during the moon period to do their insertion and pick-up operations into occupied Europe; the SOE used Tangmere Cottage, opposite the main entrance to the base to house and receive their agents.
Today the cottage sports a commemorative plaque to its former secret life. In the war, as the RAF turned from defence to attack, the legendary Group Captain Douglas Bader, the legless fighter ace, commanded the Tangmere wing of Fighter Command. Today he is commemorated by a plaque outside the former Bader Arms public house, now a Co-operative Food outlet in the village. 616 Squadron, which included Johnnie Johnson and Hugh Dundas, arrived at Tangmere in late February 1941. Johnson went on to become the highest scoring Western Allied fighter ace against the Luftwaffe. Many of those killed at the base, from both sides in conflict, are buried in the cemetery at St Andrews Church, today tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. American RAF pilot Billy Fiske who died at Tangmere in 1940 was one of the first American aviators to die during the Second World War. After the war, the RAF High Speed Flight was based at Tangmere as part of Central Fighter Establishment. In September 1946, a world air speed record of 616 mph was set by Group Captain Edward "Teddy" Mortlock Donaldson in a Gloster Meteor.
In September 1953, Squadron Leader Neville Duke became holder of the world air speed record when he flew a Hawker Hunter at 727 mph – the 50th anniversary of this event was commemorated in 2003. No 38 Group Tactical Communications Wing RAF and 244 Signal Squadron were the last units to leave the base, relocating to RAF Benson. On 1 June 1950, a Gloster Meteor flying eastwards over Portsmouth reported a UFO at 20,000ft, it is seen by the radar at RAF Wartling, was described as Britain's first flying saucer, led to the Flying Saucer Working Party that year. In the late 1950s the flying was restricted to ground radar calibration and the Joint Services Language School moved there. Amongst those taking a one-year course was Richard Marquand, better known as being the director of the Star Wars film The Return of the Jedi. In 1960 the station was granted the "Freedom of Chichester" and the event was marked by a march through the town and service in the Cathedral; some of the last flying units to be based at the station included: No. 245 Squadron RAF.
No. 98 Squadron RAF No. 115 Squadron RAF'B' Flt, No. 22 Squadron RAF In 1963-64 the last flying units left. The station closed on 16 October 1970. Following the closure of the RAF station, some of the land around the runways was returned to farming. Tangmere Airfield Nurseries have built large glasshouses for the cultivation of peppers and aubergines; until 1983 37 acres of barracks, admin blocks and repair workshops remained derelict until bought by Seawards Properties Ltd. Housing soon spread around the airfield, much RAF building was demolished and officers' houses retained as homes. However, a few original RAF buildings remain, including three T.2 type hangars, the Control Tower, fire station, NAAFI/Airmen's Institute and one of the ‘H Block’ accommodation buildings. The majority of the airfield is now farmed, since 1979 the runways have been removed thus returning the whole airfield back to large scale farming once again; the derelict control tower forms part of the farm but is now bricked up