Flt. Lt. Richard M.H.Arnott

Richard is so like many of our heroes he just doesn't think he is, and rarely talks of his time in the RAF. It should be said that Richard was navigator on one of the Vulcan's that flew thousands of miles and mid way had a very dangerous refuelling in zero visibility this is that story.

 

Dick was part of the Vulcan crew sent to Ascension Island ostensibly as the “operations crew” ahead of the two crews and Vulcan aircraft to be used for attacks on Port Stanley.

Dicks crews job was to prepare and plan for these attacks and he was responsible for producing the navigation flight plan for the first two missions (Black Bucks 1&2). Thereafter they became the reserve crew, taking off from Ascension Island behind the Primary Vulcan Bomber and main force of Victor refuelling tankers.

Fully armed and fuelled, their job was to take over from the Primary in case of any problems it may have had in re-fuelling at first fuel transfer from the Victor, technical faults or crew sickness and injury.

After the first re-fuelling had been successfully completed and on receipt of a coded message from the Primary they turned 180 degrees to starboard and returned to Ascension.

They completed 4 missions in that fashion. The only time a Primary aircraft failed (a technical fault) was on Black Buck 1, when Martin Withers completed the mission as reserve crew (Martin got a well deserved DFC)

Dick admits he had a sense of relief and reduction of adrenaline flow when he received the coded message that effectively meant they were “not needed on voyage”. The thoughts of re-fuelling manoeuvres in a hostile weather environment over the South Atlantic held no charms for him.

The actual fear of engaging enemy firepower over target has dissipated after the first two Black Buck missions because it became apparent that the Argentineans had no wish to engage them at night. On later missions they had even attempted to overfly missile radar sites in order to get a response – and so they could fire their Sidewinder missiles in efforts to destroy the sites, however the Argentinean response remained  .....  NIL!

This was dicks war, he says a certain amount of fearfulness, a job needing to be done and in the main all did that job. Dick still insists he was no hero, but I for one would not have like to be in a very large aircraft, re-fuelling in foul weather conditions over the South Atlantic with no guarantee of no enemy action, well make your own mind up – I have..

 My cousin Richard is definitely a hero to me.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This page was last updated on 03/05/10

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