Cpl Brian Hersee

An armourer by trade, Brian was posted from 54 Squadron at West Raynham to Muharraq in September 1967 for his tour on 8 Squadron in Bahrain.

“At that time we were given the choice of a straight 12 month tour or 13 months with a months UK leave, so I did eight months and four months. I had already spent three months on detachment in El Adem and Gibraltar defending the Rock against the Spanish that year!

Initially I was assigned to the Armoury but moved onto 8 Squadron just in time for a detachment to Sharjah, along with 208 Squadron, for an Armament Practice Camp (APC). Our departure freed up space on the tarmac at Muharraq for aircraft participating in the withdrawal from Aden.  208 started their APC as we finished ours.

One of the problems encountered on the Hunters was that they were nearly all at different Armament Control mod (modification) states. To help overcome this, we kept a log of these mod states, so that we could advise pilots as to which switches did what during their pre-flight walk rounds. Unfortunately, this did not prevent all accidents from occurring.

During our detachment, a 208 Squadron armourer named Barney sustained serious injuries while preparing a Hunter for a sortie on the range which would be using practice bombs. As he was preparing the aircraft with EMRUs (see below) installed in the outer pylons, but when the aircraft went unserviceable, he was given the hurry up to prepare another with ERUs (see below). In his hurry, he forgot to unplug them so that when the bomb test was carried out, the ERU performed as designed. As part of the test an armourer had to lay under each bomb carrier and close a series of micro-switches. Both Barney and a second armourer on the other wing were struck by the carriers as they were blasted vertically downwards. Barney’s scull took a direct hit from the ERU Piston and his life was only saved by the actions of one of our pilots who had trained as a doctor in South America (Barney can be seen in the coloured photograph below). is the guy in the coloured picture second from right, I am the one with the hair far left, we did this trip in our first week, the hair was much shorter after this.

The 1968 Sharjah Detachment was specifically geared to training some of our FGA.9 pilots on the FR.10 and was probably one of the most enjoyable but hard working detachments I ever did. Starting early and finishing late, and with no time to spare, we made our own sandwiches in the line tent at lunch time. Our Flight Sergeant would book late meals for us every night, but as the aircrew brought a crate of beer for us most nights, we were often late getting to the Mess.


In simple terms, an Electrical, Mechanical Release Unit (EMRU) was an electrically or mechanically operated Bomb Release Unit. The unit only released the store from the carrier, air pressure being used to propel the store away from the aircraft. If operated when the aircraft was on the ground, the store would just drop to the ground under the force of gravity.


An Ejector Release Unit (ERU) was a device that used a cartridge to eject a store away from an aircraft pylon with a great deal of force. The Hunter ERU was a single piston device which protruded out from the wing directly above the pylon. ERUs were installed in the outboard pylons of the Hunter for use with the SNEB Rocket Pods mod.”

Four intrepid 8 Squadron airmen take a break while on a trip round Bahrain Island in 1967

Brian Hersee+ANOther+Barney ????+ANOther

After a hot day in the sun, what better way to wind down. Bahrain 1968

Any names please?

8 Sqn airmen seem perplexed by a chunky piece of ground equipment. Bahrain 1968

Any names please?

8 Sqn pilots and airmen pose in front of one of their FR.10s on the Sharjah detachment

Known as the 'Moon Rocket', due to its late departure, VC10, XR810, is seen on the Visitors Pan at Bahrain in 1968