233 Squadron


Until a proper history can be obtained that covers 233 Squadron’s operations in Aden, this page will initially contain just a selection of images contributed by former Valetta pilot Keith Webster. The photographs contained in the gallery below were taken by Keith during his tour at Khormaksar from 1961 to 1962.

The number one engine on Valetta C.1, VW837, leaves a trail of smoke as it coughs into life before departing on a sortie up country in 1962

Supplies being unloaded from VW837 onto a Bedford 3-tonner include roles of barbed wire for security fencing at this deselate airstrip

A distant view of the tented Army encampment to which the supplies would be delivered

A fire tender stands by VW837, its cargo having been unloaded, as it waits to depart for the flight back to Khormaksar

An offside view of the same aircraft at the desert strip.

Nearly home! The view from the cockpit of a Valetta on the final leg over the sea and on to the Khormaksar runway

Shortly after touchdown and a shot across the Transport Wing pan with two Hastings, a Dan Air York, USN VC118B and a Beverley undergoing engine change in evidence

Looking east from outside the 233 Squadron offices with the Transport Wing pan on the left

Ali, the 233 Squadron runner, dashes below the crewroom to fill his bottle from the nearest cooler

Dinghy drill for 233 Sqn pilots about to be rescued from somewhere out in the Red Sea in the summer of 1962. Keith is on the right (Pat Colwell)

A view in 233 Sqn's crewroom in October 1962 depicting the OC, Sqn Ldr D.W.Barnard (left) discussing forthcoming crewing requirements with some of his pilots. Flt Sgt Don McKenn is second on the left (Keith Webster)

An envelope that contained a bill for soft drinks and water dated 8 October, 1962 (Keith Webster)

The following sequence was taken by Keith at Khormaksar in early September 1962 and depict 233 Sqn Valetta C.1, VW860, being prepared for an air test following Foreign Object Damage (FOD) to one of its flaps. Not an uncommon occurance considering the rough airstrips from which the aircraft operated from.

Cleaning up prior to air test and replenishing the hydraulic fluid to the No.2 engine (Keith Webster)

With the No.2 engine running, aircraft captain Flt Sgt Don McKenn's finger indicates he is ready to start No. 1 (Keith Webster)

The engine coughs into life, belching out a plume of blue smoke and blowing up a cloud of sand (Keith Webster)

Pre-flight checks complete, VW860 taxies out ..... (Keith Webster)

..... under the watchful eye of marshaller Sgt Collins and one of the crewmen poking his head out of the Astrodome (Keith Webster)