In the last Newsletter Duncan Simpson
recalled the first Hunter delivery to the RAF. Now he tells us the
story of the first Harrier delivery...
The Harrier Conversion Team of the first four instructors selected by
the RAF arrived at Dunsfold towards the end of April 1969. They were Sq
Ldr Dick LeBrocq and Flt Lts Peter Dodworth, Bruce Latten and Richie
Profit; all experienced Hunter pilots. After they had each completed a
five hour conversion course to the Harrier at Dunsfold (organised and
run by Duncan - Ed.) the first five aircraft were ready for delivery to
On the evening
of May 16th I joined the Team for the ferry briefing. I was to fly as
No.5. Next day we strapped-in and started up, all ready to go...except
for me. I found that my 'electrics' refused to come on-line. I pressed
the reset button many times but to no effect. However, it just so
happened that our two chase Hunters were also ready for Wittering. So,
determined not to be left behind, I ran over to the Hunter Mk9
affectionately known as 'Fred', strapped-in again, took off and arrived
shortly after the Harriers.
This event must go down in history as one of the lowest key first
deliveries to the RAF of any new type. We were met by a few ground
staff who made the necessary arrangements to help us push the Harriers
into the hangar. We then discovered that the furniture for the
Operational Conversion Unit offices was all stacked outside the
allocated building, so we just had to set about carrying in the chairs,
desks and filing cabinets.
Thus did the Harrier join the Air Force; not just a new aeroplane but the start of a new concept of operations.