Tuesday, July 23, 2024 Military Aviation » Royal Air Force Luqa » Major Exercises » Eden Apple  

Eden Apple, 11-16 November 1968

This exercise, according to a press release of the time, was a medium scale, advance tactical exercise, involving the military forces of France, Greece, Italy, the UK and the United States. A “warm-up” period was expected to start on the 5th.

This exercise should have seen the use of the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle in Mediterranean, but repairs requiring the dry docking meant that her aircraft had to be dispersed at bases in the Mediterranean. This explains why no Sea Vixens were seen at Luqa.

The following are the known aircraft seen at Luqa in connection with the exercise, but not necessarily the only aircraft to have participated in this exercise.

No. 32 squadron participated with six aircraft, serials unknown, their role being low-level search and simulated attacks on various ships. During their detachment, the squadron achieved 1,000 hours, eventually departing back to Akrotiri on 30.11.68.

An advance party from No. 73 squadron arrived at Luqa on 31st October to prepare for the squadron’s arrival. Four aircraft arrived on 1st November, the remaining two aircraft, having been held up by technical problems, arrived later. Squadron’s role was in a relatively small role of an aggressor force, attacking allied shipping.

Due to ELINT (electronic intelligence) Soviet ships in the vicinity, Canberras of 360 squadron were unable to practice their black art of jamming.

Thanks to my colleague, Charles Stafrace, and a foreign enthusiast (who modestly declined to be named), the Buccaneer list has been updated. Previously incomplete serial numbers have been completed, and missing aircraft added. I believe that this (Buccaneer) list is now complete.

Avro Shackleton MR.3   _____/N    
Avro Shackleton MR.3 42 XF706 A/Cn 16.12.58 and delivered direct to 203 Sqn 12.5%.1 Uncoded. To 49MU Colerne 12.59 for Phase I modification by Avro CWP, completed 3.60, when joined 120 Sqn as C. Allocated to 49MU 8.61 for Phase II update by Avro CWP, completed 10.61. Issued to 203 Sqn and coded G. Mods by 23MU carried out 3.62, the aircraft remaining at Ballykelly until 8.62, when transferred to 201 Sqn and coded N. To HSA Woodford 11.64 for Phase III modernization. completed 12.65. when issued to 42 Sqn coded E. Fitted with Vipers at HSA Woodford 9.66 - 1.67 and modified at HSA Bitteswell 11.68 - 1.69, otherwise remaining with 42 Sqn until 7.69, when loaned to Kinloss. Returned to 42 Sqn 9.69 still coded E until withdrawn from use 2.70. Allotted maintenance serial 8089M 6.3.70, but used for fire-fighting practice at St Mawgan and gradually destroyed. Sorties on 08, 11, 13, & 15.11.68.
Avro Shackleton MR.3 42 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 11.59 - 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. Sortie on 12.11.68.
Avro Shackleton MR.3 203 WR977 A/Cn 31.8.57 and delivered to 23MU 14.9.57 for issue to 220 Sqn 10.57. Code L, which was retained when unit renumbered 201 Sqn 1.10.58. To Avro Langar 5.59 - 11.59 for Phase I modernization. To 206 Sqn 11.59 and coded B. Despatched to Avro Langar for Phase II update and mods 1.62, completed 4.63. To 201 Sqn 4.63 and coded O. Again to Langar 7.65, for Phase III (Viper) modifications, which were completed 4.66. WR977 was delivered to 42 Sqn 5.66 as B, remaining until 5.68, when despatched to HSA Bitteswell for mods. To 203 Sqn 7.68 still as B, but loaned to 206 Sqn 7.69 and 42 Sqn 8.69. Returned to 203 Sqn 8.70 and remained until allocated to Thorney Island for practice firefighting 11.71. Allotment cancelled and WR977 was ferried to Finningley 8.11.71 for the Museum with maintenance serial 8186M. Later disposed of to the Newark Air Museum, the aircraft being dismantled and moved to the site on Winthorpe airfield by road 1.5.77. Current. Sorties on 08, 11, 14 & 15.11.68.
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XN978/E-114 D/D 4/11/64 to RN, transferred to No 12 Sqn by 3/71 but lost in a crash at Creil in northern France on 5/6/71.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XN981/E-115 D/D 4/2/65 to RN and transferred to RAF by 6/71, initially with No 237 OCU then No 12 Sqn between 10/72 and 4/73. Given back to RN becoming R026 of 809 Sqn before again coming under RAF charge following conversion to S Mk 2B standard and delivery to No 208 Sqn in 4/79. Airframe serving with the unit until 7/83 when transferred to No 12 Sqn before reverting back to No 208 Sqn in 5/84. However, with Sea Eagle mod programme well under way found itself again on No 12 Sqn charge by 2/86.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XT273/113 D/D 14/7/65 to RN before being returned to BAe at Brough on 4/11/73. Seen on RAF charge with No 237 OCU in 6/75 then with No 208 Sqn by 9/75 but damaged in a landing accident at Luqa on 4/6/76. Eventually returned to operational status with No 237 OCU in 2/78, remaining on charge until being placed in storage at RAF St Athan still as a S Mk 2A in 1/84.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XT274/103 D/D 15/7/65 to RN and converted to S Mk 2A standard by BAe Brough by 5/74 when taken on charge by No 12 Sqn. Passed to No 237 OCU in 2/76 with which it stayed until being placed in store at St Athan in 1/84. Allocated maintenance serial 8856M for BDR training at RAF Abingdon in 1/86.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 803 XT284/LM-611 D/D 13/12/65 to RN. Issued to No 208 Sqn by 5/75 passing to No 237 OCU in 2/78 until placed in store at St Athan in 12/83. Allocated maintenance serial 8855M for BDR training at RAF Abingdon in 1/86. Aircraft appears to be on loan to Eagle’s 800 squadron.
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XT286/112/E D/D 6/1/66 to RN. Transferred from 809 Sqn to No 12 Sqn in 5/74 serving alternately with No 237 OCU until passed to BAe Bitteswell for S2B mod on 6/1/78. Re-issued to No 16 Sqn by 11/80 with which it served until departing Laarbruch for St Athan and storage in 11/83. The airframe passed to BAe in 12/86 as part of the ASR1012 update programme.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XT288/102/E D/D 18/2/66 to RN and noted unmarked at RAF Honington in 6/72. Issued to No 12 Sqn until 5/73 when despatched to BAe Bitteswell as the second airframe of S2B mod contract. Re-issued to No 12 Sqn following conversion on 3019/73 serving with the squadron until at least 2/78 before being passed on to No 208. By 1982 the aircraft had bailed back to BAe as one of Sea Eagle test airframes although still resplendent in No 208's colours. Airframe currently serving in Sea Eagle tests with A&AEE at Boscombe Down.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XV160/104 D/D 17/8/66 to RN and first noted on RAE charge unmarked in 5/73. Adopted by No 237 OCU from that time until 2/76 when returned to BAe for modification to S.2B standard and incidentally still displaying a white serial. Re-issued to No 208 Sqn in 4/77 and became one of four aircraft to receive the tan camouflage scheme for the RAF's first 'Red Flag' exercise. Last noted with No 208 Sqn in 2/78 and with No 12 by 3/80. Following a major at St Athan passed to No 16 Sqn and was lost on 20/9/82 in Sardinia.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XV161/105 D/D 1/9/66 to RN and passed by 809 Sqn to No 208 Sqn in 11/74 before undergoing modification to S Mk 2B standard at BAe Bitteswell in 3/77. Re-issued to No 208 Sqn in 2/78 until 7/83 when passed to No 12 Sqn with which it still serves.  
B. Buccaneer 800 XV163/110 D/D 3/10/66 to RN. Passed from 809 Sqn to No 237 OCU in 6/75 then to No 208 Sqn in 9/75 before returning to No 237 OCU in 6/77. No 208 Sqn regained the aircraft in 10/83 before it was placed in store at St Athan in 3/84.  
B. Buccaneer S.2 800 XV165/LM-610 D/D 27/10/66 to RN and one of original aircraft issued to No 12 Sqn in 1969, with which it has served since. Although serving with Eagle’s 800, this may have been on loan from 736 squadron.
EE Canberra 32     6 aircraft from 32 squadron. Sorties between 01-23.11.68.
EE Canberra 73      
EE Canberra T.17 360     Four aircraft arrived on 08.11.68. 2 aircraft departed for, and operate from, Nicosia. The remaining two aircraft return to RAF Watton on the 18th.
F. Gannet COD4   XG786/074/E F/f 12/1956, d/d 04/01/1957, TO Brawdy 18/12/68 for scrapping, s.o.c. 03/02/1969. Sorties between 07-18.11.68.
Gl. Meteor TT.20 Fleet Requirements Unit WM159/040 At Luqa between 02-11.11.68.  
Gl. Meteor TT.20 Fleet Requirements Unit WM255 d/d 22/01/1953, transferred to Royal Navy 28/05/1957, sold 20/01/1975 at No.5 MU Kemble to the French Government  
Gl. Meteor TT.20 Fleet Requirements Unit WM292/041 d/d 01/04/1953, transferred to Royal Navy 23/08/1957, to FAAM Yeovilton 04/06/1969, to Wales Aircraft Museum, Rhoose 21/06/1983, Bruntingthorpe 17/06/1996, returned back 23/03/1999 to FAAM Yeovilton and stored  
HP Victor SR.2 543 XM718 f/f 02/04/63, d/d 02/05/63, to 19 MU St. Athan 23/10/75 for storage, s.o.c. 31.03.76 as CAT5S and scrapped. At Luqa between 08-22.11.68.
HP Victor B2/SR 543 XL165   At Luqa between 08-19.11.68.
HP Victor B2/SR 543 XH674   At Luqa between 15-21.11.68.
B/D Atlantic   42    
201 Sqd. 1937 Mediterranean Cruise Air Defence, 1966 (Testing of) Dawn Patrol Deep Stream DMX 51/Beehive Easy Gambler Eden Apple Forthright IV Lime Jug 70 MEDASWX 26 Naval exercises Sundial Sunspot Vulcan
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