Flt Lt Peter Sturt

Peter was assigned to 8 Squadron  from September 1963 to August 1965.

Shack escort!

Peter recalls a interesting sortie that included formating on a Shackleton. The OC 42 Squadron was flying the Shackleton while our flight of four Hunters from 8 Squadron practiced some close formation on his aircraft. I was flying XF552-D. The main thing I remember from that sortie was when we formed up in echelon port on the port wing of the Shack and the intention was for the 5th Hunter to take a pretty photo of the four peeling neatly off to the left, a la second world war stuff. Unfortunately, OC 42 decided to call the break rather than our formation leader and he did it by saying ‘standby to break’, ‘break 1’, ‘break 2’, ‘break 3’, etc., in that order. Our whole formation twitched horribly. I was No. 3 and when I saw the two aircraft on my right banked towards me     I heaved up and away out of it. It took some time to get us back into any semblance of order and we did not see OC 42 after that. I think he took his aircraft on to Sharjah or Bahrain!

Combined RAF/RN flypast

After his tour with 8 Sqn, Peter undertook a tour as an instructor at Chivenor followed by an exchange posting with 809 Sqn, with which he returned to Aden on board HMS Hermes in 1967. A massive flypast over Aden with the Khormaksar Hunter wing and the Buccaneers and Sea Vixens of HMS Victorious and Hermes took place on 17 May, 1967. The formation was lead by Sea Vixens from 892 and 893 Sqns, followed by Buccaneers from 801 and 809 Sqns with 8, 43, 208 and 1417 Flight Hunters bringing up the rear. Flt Lt Peter Sturt flew XT279, a Buccaneer S.2 of 809 Sqn, and he recalls that; “This was quite a memorable flight since the Vixen lead pilot was not that familiar with leading large formations. During the final run in to Aden he decided that he was a few seconds too early and decided to slow down from the run-in speed of (I think) 350 knots. Unfortunately he chopped his throttle to slow down rapidly to about 250 kts and the concertina affect as this rippled down to the back end of the formation (especially the Hunters at the very back) was again quite interesting. Fortunately the whole formation achieved some order by the time it overflew Aden.  I suspect the comments in the Jungle bar that evening amongst the Hunter fraternity were somewhat blue!!”