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22 September 2020 Military Aviation » Royal Air Force Luqa » Major Exercises » Easy Gambler  
 

Easy Gambler, March 1968

I have no information about this exercise, but since Atlantics and Shackletons were involved, it must have concerned anti-submarine/maritime patrol activity.

The following are some of the aircraft seen at Luqa between 7th – 25th in connection with the exercise, but not necessarily the only aircraft to have participated in this exercise. Of the six participating Atlantics, three remain unidentified.
        
 
AIRCRAFT SERIAL HISTORY NOTES
Avro Shackleton Mk. 2 _____/P    
Avro Shackleton Mk.2 WL756/V MR 2/AEW.2 First flown 1.4.53 and A/Cn 30.4.53. Tu 23MU 5.5.53 and prepared for issue to MEAF Delivered to Luqa by the Overseas Ferry Unit, Benson, 28.7.53 and after acceptance checks issued to 37 Sqn 5.8.53 and coded G. To CAPMF St Mawgan 1-19.2.54 for mods and on return to 37 Sqn damaged in Cat.3 flying accident 7.5.54 when the pilot stalled the aircraft on final approach and the tailwheel assembly collapsed on touchdown in the undershoot. Transferred to 137MU Safi for repairs the same day. A 'special fitment' was made 21.10.55 - 5.12.55 after which WL756 was transferred to 38 Sqn 16.12.55 and recoded T. To 49MU for mods 9.10.57 - 19.11.57, returning to 38 Sqn and suffered Cat.3 damage in flying accident 19.3.58. presumably at Akrotiri because it was allocated to 103MU for repairs the same day. Probably also modified to Phase I standard before allotment to HQ British Forces Arabian Peninsula 30.4.59. Issued to 37 Sqn 18.7.59 coded C. To Avro 23.1.61 for Phase II mods, completed 30.4.62. Allocated to FEAF and issued to 205 Sqn 11.6.62 still as C. To HSA 30.10.66 for Phase III mods at Langar and on completion went to the Ballykelly Wing 26.10.67 and was coded V. To HSA for mods 29.10.69 - 10.12.69 when returned to Ballykelly Wing. To 204 Sqn 10.70, retaining code V until going to 5MU 18.1.71 for preparation for despatch to HSA Bitteswell 2.4.71 for AEW.2 conversion. Flown as AEW.2 2.3.72 and redelivered to 5MU 22.3.72 for repainting and acceptance. Flown to Kinloss 4.5.72 and issued to 8 Sqn the following day. To Lossiemouth 19.5.72 for installation of radar before return to Kinloss as 'Mr Rusty' 21.6.72. Transferred to Lossiemouth with unit 17.8.73. To 60MU for modification 29.4.75, but returned to 8 Sqn 5.75. To HSA Bitteswell for major overhaul/mods 7.3.79, returning to 8 Sqn 1980. Currently at St Mawgan on the Station Fire Dump and can be seen from coast road (13,676 hrs at 9.3.89).  
Avro Shackleton Mk.3 WR974 First flown 1.5.57 and A/Cn 24.5.57. Released for C(A) development work on 12 month free loan 31.5.57 and prepared by Avro Woodford/Langar for tropical and winter trials. Delivered to the A&AEE Boscombe Down from Langar 5.7.57 and flown out of Idris, Libya, for armament trials in tropical conditions 7.57 - 8.57. On return to Boscomhe transferred to 49MU 27.8.57 for additional 'winterization' by Avro CWP. Back to Boscombe Down 20.9.57 and despatched to CEPE Canada 8.10.57. Damaged 19.11.57 the aircraft was repaired in Canada and the trials completed. WR974 was delivered from Boscombe to 49MU Colerne 16.4.58 and modified to full Phase I standard by Avro CWP against Contract 6/Acft/15025/CB6(a). Allotted to 23MU 27.8.58 and ferried to Aldergrove 25.9.58. Issued to 203 Sqn 12.58 and coded F. Badly damaged landing at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 18.8.59, WR974 was repaired on site by Fairey Aviation of Canada 11.69 - 6.60 and returned briefly to 203 Sqn before delivery to Avro Langar for Phase II update. Retained on completion and transferred to the MoA Air Fleet for use as a Phase III TI aircraft against Contract KD/L/081 and 082/CB6(a). Suffered damage in hangar accident 20.4.64. Allocated to the A&AEE for radio and navigation trials 16.7.64 and delivered to Boscombe Down 7.9.64. Carried out winterization tests on equipment after which returned to HSA Langar for pre-service preparation 3.3.65. Reallocated to the A&AEE 17.5.65 for further tropical trials of Phase III navigation equipment and flight tests of the Griffon 58 equipped with modified oil coolers. Arrived at Boscombe 21.6.65 and returned to Langar 10.9.65 for more Tl work, including stand-by bomb bay heating, photographic electronic flash unit and sonobuoy homer tests against Contract KD/L/125/ CB6(a). To Boscombe Down 23.3.66 for acceptance trials on the new equipment, on completion of which WR974 was despatched to ASWDU at Ballykelly 20 6.66. To HSA Bitteswell 7.66 for modification transferring to Langar until allotted on loan to MinTech 17.2.67 for further evaluation of sonobuoy homer equipment. To the RAE Farnborough 12.5.67 for tests by the Radio Department. Transferred to the A&AEE Boscombe Down for armament trials to ASR 816 12.7.67. WR974 returned to Ballykelly for more ASWDU trials 8.2.68, departing to HSA Bitteswell 5.4.68 for preparation to current service Phase 111 standard, completed 27.8.68. To 203 Sqn coded H. Loaned to 42 Sqn 9.68 - 1.69, returning to 203 Sqn until 1.70, when sent to Bitteswell for mods 1.70 - 3.70. Back with 203 Sqn 26.3.70, but transferred to the Kinloss Wing 6.4.70 and coded K. To Cosford 11.12.7() for No.2 SoTT as an instructional airframe with maintenance serial 8117M. Offered for sale 1988 and purchased by P. Vallance of Charlwood, West Sussex. Currently, Garwick Aviation Museum, Charlwood, Sussex.  
B/D Atlantic 43   French Navy.
B/D Atlantic 47    
B/D Atlantic 49    
B/D Atlantic ?    
B/D Atlantic ?    
B/D Atlantic ?    
        
 
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