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A Gannet Ditching - Julian Hayes

From Fly Navy September 2021, under Obituaries

“Lieutenant Adrian Donald HEWLETT died in Spring 2021

From References: while flying FAIREY GANNET XR431 of 849B Flight on 7 September 1964 during a night landing the aircraft missed the wires, bounced and crashed ahead of the ship, Centaur, off Singapore. Crew recovered by plane guard, LIEUTENANT A.D. HEWLETT slightly injured, LIEUTENANT A.E. SIMS and SUB-LIEUTENANT J HAYES unhurt”

The ditching might have brought to a premature conclusion a year of adventure for myself, then a sprog observer on 849B Flight. The Flight had embarked in HMS Centaur from Culdrose on the 22nd December 1963 for twelve months “East of Suez” in accordance with the then policy of maintaining two fixed wing carriers in that (enormous) theatre. Today, that policy would be far detached from present realities but then was amply justified by subsequent events.

Incidentally, starting a year long deployment three days before Christmas may now seem a bit hard. One wo